Written by Weiling Wang
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
Shortly before Christmas in 2021, dozens of tornadoes fell upon several U.S. states. Mobilizing without delay, Tzu Chi volunteers quickly went to hard-hit areas to offer their care. Hayti, Missouri, and Mayfield, Kentucky, were among the communities visited.
With preliminary relief underway in Mayfield, Tzu Chi volunteers had discovered news of a local Amish community that had been hit hard when the violent storms impacted the city on December 10-11. In accordance with the belief that one should live life as simply as possible, the local Amish community in Mayfield maintains self-sufficiency with little use of modern technology. And, as members of the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church, community neighbors live earnestly in a down-to-earth manner. Yet, the disaster had still taken its toll, and Tzu Chi reached out to show their support.
On December 20, led by a resident of Mayfield, James Stovall, who is familiar with the community, Tzu Chi volunteers visited Amish community members and learned of the traditions many people had heard of but never really experienced.
There, Amish men wore dark clothing, while women wore dark dresses along with an apron, their hair tied back in a bun beneath a bonnet. Horses and carriages are their means of transportation, and they do not depend on cars, computers, or electricity.
Horses and carriages are an important means of transportation for Amish families in the community. Photo/Yue Ma
Here, a young couple and five children lived in a trailer home. When the storm made impact, the trailer was torn apart. Once the storm appeared to have passed, neighbors had ventured out to check on one another, and heard a baby crying. They discovered three of the children were miraculously alive. However, the couple and their other two children had lost their lives in the catastrophe.
Volunteers visited every family in the local community, personally delivering words of support, monetary aid, and a care package containing warm blankets and scarves. Tzu Chi volunteers also shared the story that inspired Tzu Chi’s bamboo bank — and how the funds volunteers provide come from selfless people across the globe who sincerely care about the lives of others.
“The locals are very nice; they trust us,” said the Deputy Executive of Tzu Chi USA’s Midwest Region, Amy Hsieh, who felt that the community also shared several of Tzu Chi’s core values. With love in their hearts, volunteers hope the emergency relief resources can help bolster the strength of local families as they persevere onward.
Tzu Chi volunteers distribute disaster relief supplies and funds in Defiance, Missouri, and Hayti, Missouri, on December 17. Photo/Wenzhen Wu