Tzu Chi New York Distributes Winter Clothing and Warmth to the City’s Most Vulnerable

Northeast  |  November 1, 2022
On November 26, Tzu Chi volunteers happily took a group photo at the distribution site of the Tzu Chi Center in New York. Photo/Enpu Guo

Written by Pinhau Chiou
Translated by Ariel Chan
Edited by Qihua Luo, Andrea Barkley

The distribution of winter clothes is a regular winter activity of the Tzu Chi Northeast Region. In previous years, Tzu Chi distributed clothes to low-income families in the Bronx. This year, the distribution occurred at three locations: Flushing at Queens, Elmhurst, and Tzu Chi Center in Upper East Side Manhattan. The intention was to help families affected by the pandemic and inflation to survive the cold winter.

Tzu Chi volunteers prepared delicious food for the residents. Photo/Enpu Guo
In addition to the bento this year, the volunteers also carefully cooked borscht. Photo/Enpu Guo

New York is a multi-racial big city, and residents of different races live in different areas. Taking this into consideration, Tzu Chi volunteers prepared vegetarian food and winter clothes suitable for the lifestyle of residents in different distribution sites.

Three Distributions to Spread Warmth

Tzu Chi volunteer delivers a bowl of hot soup to the unhoused. Photo/Enpu Guo
With great concern, Tzu Chi volunteer San San Chiang asked about the situation of the unhoused. Photo/Enpu Guo

During Thanksgiving, volunteers gave out borscht and clothing at the All Saints Episcopal Church across the street from the Tzu Chi Center in Manhattan. Tzu Chi Northeast prepared clothes in mainly large sizes, as the unhoused were the primary recipients of the distribution. In addition to the unhoused, many refugees from Central and South America came to receive warm clothing. Facing the cold winter, those in need considered Tzu Chi’s distribution a big blessing.

The clothes we received today are enough to keep our family of four warm through the winter.

In addition to the loving donations from volunteers, a generous company also provided new gloves and hats. Photo/Enpu Guo

On November 12, 2022, Tzu Chi volunteers held the first distribution at the Tzu Chi Northeast Region Office in Flushing, NY. Here the primary recipients were older adults and low-income people in the community. Tzu Chi volunteer San San Chiang said, “Recently, there has been an influx of immigrants and refugees from Central and South America. So Tzu Chi solicited support from merchants and community leaders. Most of the clothes distributed came from them. Many sweaters, gloves, and scarves were woven by hand. We hope these bring warmth to those in need.”

Elmhurst Park residents happily took a group photo after receiving the clothes. Image Source/New York Service Center
In Elmhurst Park, residents lined up to pick out their clothes. Image Source/New York Service Center

On an early mid-winter morning, Elmhurst Park in Queens was full of busy Tzu Chi Northeast volunteers. The weather was cold, so they set up the tent as quickly as possible, categorized the clothes, and began to welcome the residents who had rushed over in light of the news.

Elmhurst is a multi-ethnic community, and many residents, especially the new immigrants from Central and South America, urgently need help. Up to 53% of this population lives at 200% of the poverty level. So finding the money to cover even the most basic needs can be challenging. So, the rich selection of clothing made this community happy, warming their bodies and minds.

Tzu Chi volunteers tell the story of Tzu Chi to the unhoused. Photo/ Enpu Guo
Tzu Chi Northeast volunteers smile at the Elmhurst distribution center. Image Source/New York Service Center

The 2022 Tzu Chi Northeast Region’s winter clothes distribution reached a successful conclusion, helping 260 households. Regarding this year’s situation, one volunteer said, “Because of global conditions and social changes, the number of residents who came to collect this year has increased. Therefore, increasing the distribution locations was excellent planning. Although it was only a small help, seeing satisfied smiles on everyone’s faces filled our hearts with boundless happiness.”

Tzu Chi Northeast will continue to assist those in need with sincerity and efficiency in the coming year. We hope to be a ray of light in the night and a strand of courage to help them overcome adversity.

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