Tzu Chi Central Volunteers Begin Distributing Face Masks to Dallas Residents

Central  |  April 15, 2020
Photo by Shirley Wu

Written by Shirley Wu
Translated by Diana Chang
Edited by Dilber Shatursun

In a few short months, the new coronavirus has brought governments, economies, and social systems around the world to their knees. To address the consequent needs within and near Dallas, Texas, Tzu Chi volunteers based at its Central Regional Headquarters began launching adaptive relief efforts.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to escalate in Dallas, Texas, counting at roughly 1.5K across Dallas County as of April 14. With mask shortages across the board, Tzu Chi Central volunteers began preparing supplies to safeguard public health and show care at this great time of need. This has been in the printing of letters offering condolences, and individually packing and distributing masks. In one day, Tzu Chi Central volunteers prepared mask packages to be ready for distribution at our headquarters in Richardson, Texas, on April 10.

Tzu Chi Central volunteers hard at work packing masks. Photos by Shirley Wu

In addition to Tzu Chi volunteers, masks were sent to staff members, donors, and students of Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool and Kindergarten and their families. This ensured that everyone who is part of the Tzu Chi family is taken care of.

To organize this effort, three categories were drawn up. The first batch of masks went to those in the Tzu Chi family (see above); the second batch was designated for community organizations who submitted supply requests to Tzu Chi; the third batch was for local residents in need of basic protection.

To make things as safe as possible for those coming in to pick up from the Tzu Chi Academy Sunday Chinese school, parents obtained their masks from a makeshift drive thru. This keeps parents in the car and reduces the incidence of contact for the volunteers doing the distribution. To show their gratitude, one parent brought the doughnuts as a ‘thank you.’

Tzu Chi Academy schools’ parents receive their masks through a drive-thru. Photo by Shirley Wu

A parent from Tzu Chi Academy, Dr. Noel Peng, is an endocrinologist at the Medical City Dallas Hospital. He told Tzu Chi Central Executive Director Yuanliang Ling that though hospitals would have better resources, doctors at clinics and private practices may have less. Preparing the supplies, Yuanliang shared them with Dr. Peng to give to his colleagues in need.

Tzu Chi Central Executive Director Yuanliang Ling (right) shares additional masks with Dr. Noel Peng. Photo by Shirley Wu

Under normal circumstances, any large-scale distribution is a big undertaking as it has many motors – even more so during a pandemic, where supplies are short or delayed, and manpower faces such unusual limitations and restrictions (e.g. social distancing). But, Tzu Chi Central remains committed to serving the public.

Moving forward, distributions will be focused on people of color – including Chinese populations, as well as Dallas’ vibrant Thai and Vietnamese communities. This way, Tzu Chi Central works to truly ensure that no one is left behind.

Help ensure more people get the protection from COVID-19 they need.

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