Written by Wendy Tsai
Translated by Hong (Ariel) Chan
Edited by Andrea Barkley
In recent years, the U.S. economy has been severely impacted by the pandemic, exacerbating the hardships many disadvantaged residents face. Sympathizing with their struggles, Tzu Chi USA’s Greater Washington DC Region organizes monthly food distributions to help people endure these challenging times. As a result, 3,000 pounds of food have been distributed, benefiting 82 families in the community..
On March 18, 2023, despite the harsh cold weather, dedicated Tzu Chi volunteers arrived at the event site at 9:00 am to prepare for the day. Working together, they carefully packed vegetables and fruits into paper bags. The assortment included potatoes, cabbage, radishes, onions, pineapples, and mangoes, addressing the nutritional needs of the residents.
During the distribution, nine-year-old Cyrus Grundy was a heartwarming presence. He volunteered alongside his grandfather at Tzu Chi Washington D.C. with gratitude in his heart. Cyrus shared, “My grandpa lives nearby. One day, when I visited him, I learned about this activity. My grandpa told my parents about it, and we thought it would be interesting to help out. I plan to keep coming back to assist in the future.”
Cyrus’s grandfather, Paul Grundy, frequently volunteers at Tzu Chi. On this occasion, he worked in the fruit and vegetable packing area. At the same time, his grandson Cyrus eagerly assisted outdoors after completing his tasks indoors. Despite his young age, Cyrus was a nimble and enthusiastic helper.
Residents arrived one after another at the distribution site, eagerly collecting dry goods and large bags of fruits and vegetables. Volunteers graciously assisted in carrying the packaged food to residents’ cars. Despite the cold weather, the gentle and loving interactions created an exceptionally warm atmosphere at the site.
First-time volunteer Alejandra Aponte, encouraged by their Tzu Chi volunteer roommate, joyfully participated in Tzu Chi’s activities. They expressed their happiness at the opportunity to help others, noting the significant needs within the community. Alejandra shared, “The area has many families with children and elderly individuals. This is a wonderful chance to support the community and meet those needs.”
With smiles adorning their faces, residents held their bags of food. Thanks to Tzu Chi’s warmth on that spring day, families could enjoy ample food and clothing. Witnessing the smiles of gratitude, volunteers felt a deep sense of fulfillment, basking in the joy and happiness of helping others.