Author: Li-Chia Chang, Yeeju Wu
Editor: Natasha Palance
Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (Tzu Ching) members delegated a vegetarian food booth at the 18th annual Night Market at the University of Washington (UW Night Market), a public celebration of food and culture, on May 11th. Tzu Ching members served vegetarian snacks to market attendees, in addition to educating on the personal and global benefits of an environmentally friendly diet. Half of fundraising proceeds were donated to Tzu Chi international disaster relief programs.
Since establishment in 2001, UW Night Market has gathered thousands of people to immerse themselves in a noisy and energetic night as they search for delicious snacks and cultural enrichment. It has become one of the most popular community events in Seattle.
With the help of Tzu Chi volunteers, 25 Tzu Ching members prepared tasty Taiwanese dishes for the market—wheel cakes, vegetarian Zhajiang Noodles (noodles with soybean paste), winter melon tea and Jing Si instant rice. Many students and market visitors stopped by to taste the delicious snacks and learn about the importance and benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Tzu Ching members Sabrina Lin’s and Rahul Battini’s rice dish of freshly wrapped Jing Si rice in seaweed was a major highlight of the night. Jing Si instant rice is specifically designed for disaster relief survivors with an easy preparation procedure, they explained. All that is required for preparation is boiled water. Disaster survivors enduring urgent circumstances or those without access to electricity are provided with vital and delicious nourishment thanks to this product.
An important factor in international disaster relief is understanding the role that individuals play in affecting the climate and natural disasters. Tzu Ching promotes vegetarianism in order to spread awareness of the positive impacts that this simple lifestyle change can elicit for natural disaster prevention. By sharing delicious and healthy vegetarian foods, Tzu Ching demonstrates the personal and global benefits of being a vegetarian.
In addition to sharing knowledge of Tzu Chi’s Jing Si rice and its global impact in disaster relief, Tzu Ching members also engaged the UW student community in all things Tzu Chi, and encouraged students to join the association to become a member of the Tzu Chi family.
According to Tzu Ching team leader Amanda Cheng, Seattle Tzu Ching has been participating in UW Night Market for over a decade. The main goal in addition to spreading awareness of the association, Amanda said, is to raise money for international disaster relief programs.
“At the Lunar New Year Blessing Ceremony,” Amanda continued, “Master Cheng Yen taught us ‘May we cherish all life with gratitude, respect and love; may we together create blessings with harmony and reverence.’ I hope through this event we can help disaster survivors.”
UW students visit campus to gather with like-minded friends to have fun, and to also build a team devoted to a higher purpose–charity being one. Tzu Ching will continue to participate in the annual UW Night Market to persist in Tzu Chi’s noble efforts to provide sustainable global relief and join these students in their humanitarian pursuits.