Tzu Chi Youth Group Volunteers Put Compassion in Action in Massachusetts

Northeast  | February 10, 2021
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Tzu Chi Youth Group (Tzu Shao) member Charity Lin (middle) volunteers to help with Spanish translation at Tzu Chi USA’s food distribution in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Photo/Jeff Lin

Written by  Jinger Ning
Translated by Penny Liu
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska

During the summer vacation of 2020, several Tzu Chi Youth Group (Tzu Shao) members in Massachusetts chose to utilize their free time in the service of those in need. The youths offered their time and effort to prepare for and volunteer during Tzu Chi USA Boston Service Center’s food distribution on July 31, in the City of Lawrence, twenty-five miles north of Boston.

Tzu Chi USA’s Boston Service Center volunteers, assisted by Tzu Chi Youth Group members, prepare and host a food distribution in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on July 31, 2020. Photo/Courtesy of Boston Service

The Lawrence area has experienced a significant economic decline since much of its industrial manufacturing sector moved away. This food distribution would benefit those struggling in the city, their hardships amplified by the pandemic.

On the day of the distribution event, volunteers prepared and gave out 134 bags of groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables, Jing Si food products, several masks, an envelope containing a letter from Dharma Master Cheng Yen, and a flyer with information about Tzu Chi and its missions.

Tzu Chi and Tzu Shao volunteers work as a team at the food distribution. Photo/Jeff Lin
Tzu Shao volunteer Charity Lin (middle) shadows Tina Phung, a senior Tzu Chi volunteer (right) in helping with care recipient registration. Photo/Jeff Lin

Since Lawrence is home to many immigrants from Central and South America, and Spanish remains their predominant language, having Spanish-speaking volunteers on hand during the distribution was essential. In this regard, the participation of Tzu Shao volunteers who are learning Spanish at school was most helpful. 

The young volunteers rose to the occasion with their warm greetings and interactions with the care recipients. Although they could not converse fluently, they improved communications nonetheless, helping everyone overcome the language barrier. Furthermore, they could introduce Tzu Chi’s history and missions to Hispanic care recipients and promote vegetarianism.

Annie Lin (Left) interacts with each distribution attendee sincerely and with a sense of joy for the opportunity to be of assistance. Photo/Jeff Lin

From packing the food supplies to preparing flyers about Tzu Chi and helping with translation during the distribution, the Tzu Shao aides were of great assistance to Tzu Chi volunteers, who took this as an opportunity to offer their experience and train them as well. Every detail was executed carefully with proper attentiveness and pandemic safety protection measures. 

Tzu Chi Volunteer Sue Cuti gives a bag full of food to a Lawrence resident with respectful and mindful love and care. Photo/Jeff Lin
At the distribution, Tzu Shao member Annie Lin (left) learns to serve those in need with gratitude, respect, and love. Photo/Jeff Lin

Through this distribution, the Tzu Shao volunteers learned about some of the attributes that distinguish Tzu Chi’s charity assistance. While gaining experience working as a team harmoniously, they discovered the quality of giving aid supplies to care recipients most respectfully, using both hands. They also practiced upholding a spirit of gratitude for this opportunity to serve, bringing genuine loving-kindness to each interaction. 

Once the event ended, the young volunteers happily asked when they could participate in another distribution, the seeds of love and care now firmly rooted in their hearts after this experience of community service.

Make good use of time and cherish what we have; treat one another with love, respect, and gratitude.

Jing Si Aphorism by Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Through your support, you too can be part of such Tzu Chi missions. By working together, we can help make sure no one gets left behind when it comes to our care.

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