Tzu Chi volunteers across Europe are delivering and continuing to plan aid in the Polish cities of Poznań, Lublin, and Szczecin.
SAN DIMAS, CA, March 7, 2022 – In response to deadly conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation has launched humanitarian relief operations in Europe. As early as March 5, Tzu Chi volunteers in eastern Poland began distributing foods and supplies at a government-designated site in the neighborhood of Skórzewo, in Poznań, Poland.
In recent days, Tzu Chi volunteers have been gathering easy-to-cook, ready-to-eat, or preserved foods for donation. They include sacks of dry rice, pastas/noodles, canned vegetables, and even tortilla chips. Other relief items are currently related to personal care, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toilet paper. In doing all this, Tzu Chi volunteers were also able to assess on-the-ground conditions.
Since the outbreak of conflict, the Polish city of Lublin has been among the largest transit points for those fleeing from Ukraine. While officials have strived to accommodate new migrants, resources remain limited.
At a military shelter there, beds accomodate 400, but the facility is limited to just two bathrooms. As a result, local residents in Lublin have taken it upon themselves to open their hearts and homes to individuals and families from Ukraine, catching the attention of Tzu Chi volunteers. To contribute to aid in Lublin, Tzu Chi volunteers have gotten in touch with a Tzu Chi University alumnus who also studied in Poland to facilitate contact with the Polish Red Cross to distribute eco-blankets and other materials.
Through Tzu Chi volunteers in the UK, we’ve also learned that refugees are reaching as far west as Szczecin, along Poland’s border with Germany. Tzu Chi volunteers have already made contact with local agencies to gather supplies and assess assistance needs for the hundreds of families that have arrived. At the same time, Tzu Chi UK volunteers are shipping out 900 eco-blankets and 1,200 eco-scarves (all made from recycled PET bottles) to Poland.
While Tzu Chi’s immediate humanitarian relief is currently concentrated in these three cities, Poznań, Lublin, and Szczecin, the hope is to transition to a more empowered form of aid: shopping/grocery vouchers that may facilitate the autonomy and dignity of migrants’ material needs. To support these efforts, Tzu Chi USA urges the public to contribute to its fundraiser, “Love & Compassion for Ukraine.” Donations will go to support the above relief items, but also allow us the flexibility to provide relief in the most meaningful ways possible as the situation unfolds.
Donations may be made:
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a global non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1966 by a Buddhist nun named Dharma Master Cheng Yen. Its missions of medicine, charity, education, and humanistic culture has brought relief to 127 countries and counting. In 1989, Tzu Chi USA was established and now has 62 offices across the US. The heart of Tzu Chi is embedded in its name: in Chinese, “tzu” means compassion and “chi,” relief.