Tzu Chi Midwest is Giving Emergency Relief to Families Before Christmas in Mayfield, KY

Midwest  | December 21, 2021
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During a meeting on December 16, 2021, Mayfield, KY Mayor Kathy O'Nan emotionally reacts to Tzu Chi Midwest's plans to bring financial aid to tornado survivors before Christmas. Photo/Yue Ma

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After deadly tornadoes, Tzu Chi volunteers are providing $1,000 in emergency financial aid to severely impacted households this week.

MAYFIELD, KY, December 21, 2021 – From December 10-11, a series of deadly tornadoes tore through the Midwest and Southeast United States. Western Kentucky bears the brunt of this devastation, with at least 78 confirmed dead across the state alone. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, with Mayfield, KY among those cities hardest hit. In response, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (also known as Tzu Chi USA) aims to provide emergency financial aid to impacted families from Dec 22-23 at the Mayfield Sports Complex (925 North 15th St, Mayfield, KY) ahead of Christmas.

As early as December 12, Tzu Chi volunteers from St. Louis, MO set out for Defiance, MO. After assessing the situation there, they began plans for a distribution to offer emergency financial aid for severely impacted households on Friday, December 17. Each family received a cash card, loaded with $1,000 (to spend freely on their most pressing expenses), as well as a DA.AI Technology eco-blanket and eco-scarf, and face masks.

A few days later, on December 15, another group of Tzu Chi volunteers, this time from the Tzu Chi Midwest Regional Office in Chicago, IL, made the 400 miles trip by car to Mayfield, KY. Assessment team members included Tzu Chi Midwest Executive Director Chong Hsieh, Amy Hsieh, Ching Hsiung Lin, and Yue Ma. On arrival, WPSD Local 6 Reporter Jack Kane shed light on the small yet significant ways survivors were currently struggling:

We’re to the point where a lot of these people, they lost all of their possessions. Some of these people don't have clothes, even simple things. They don't even have socks to put on their feet, you know, they don't have underwear. This is the worst moment of their lives.

From there, the assessment team began mapping out large-scale distributions in Mayfield, KY, with plans to provide severely impacted families with $1,000 each before Christmas. In cooperation with the City of Mayfield and the American Red Cross, we begin tomorrow, Wednesday, December 22 and will continue through tomorrow, Thursday, December 23 at the Mayfield Sports Complex from 9:30am – 3:30pm. Volunteers from across the Midwest including Chicago, as well as local volunteers from Mayfield, will support the distributions.

In addition, care recipients may expect to receive eco-blankets, eco-scarves, hats, gloves, toothbrushes, toothpaste, glow sticks and/or flashlights, hand sanitizer, face masks, and other items. As a bonus, Christmas gifts, specially prepared by Tzu Chi volunteers, will be made available for survivors to take with them. Learning of Tzu Chi’s plans,  Mayor Kathy O’Nan, who will attend our distributions, cried:

Everybody's been so generous, but this one just really hit me specially… I am humbled; humbled to realize what you're bringing to our community.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that we are now matching all donations made to our tornado relief fundraiser, Relief After Tornadoes, up to $1 million until March 2022. This has been made possible thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and will give significant support to our current tornado relief operations. Beyond December 25, we will continue to host distributions to impacted households in Mayfield, KY and will later begin long-term recovery. 

Support our mission to bring tornado survivors relief before Christmas. Donate today:

About Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a global non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1966 by a Buddhist nun named Dharma Master Cheng Yen in Taiwan. Its missions of medicine, charity, education, and humanistic culture has brought relief to 126 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.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Jennifer Chien
Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
[email protected] 

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