Written by Wendy Tsai, Pheel Wang
Translated by Diana Chang
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
Lush trees made June days at Tzu Chi USA’s Greater Washington DC branch feel particularly serene and welcoming, and the sun shone on volunteers as they bustled to and fro. They carefully set up Tzu Chi’s Jing Si multipurpose foldable beds in a row, and neatly arranged bags of groceries to be distributed. They were preparing for the continuation of monthly food distributions in the community. While the pandemic is ongoing, distribution events have taken on a drive-through method to minimize contact, yet love still abounds on such occasions.
All Tzu Chi Washington DC area volunteers have received their COVID-19 vaccinations, and thus, participation had grown significantly. During the summertime, parents also encouraged their teens to seek community service activities. The volunteer team in charge of preparations happily welcomed the new members, and guided them through the tasks at each station.
“My grandmother is a very active Tzu Chi volunteer in Taiwan. Serving the community has become a family tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation,” said Brandon Nesbit. Brandon was inspired not only by his grandmother but his mother, too. Whenever the opportunity arose, he eagerly devoted his time and efforts toward Tzu Chi activities. Serving the community is always full of joy, excitement, and expectation, he expressed. And Brandon exudes a wonderfully positive energy at the distributions, indeed.
Young volunteers focus intently on performing assorted tasks. Photo/Wendy Tsai
Another Tzu Chi Youth volunteer, Amelia Chen, is also one of the leads at the distribution: “In the past year, I have participated in food packaging and distribution at Tzu Chi many times. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a volunteer because I can help people. Especially when the COVID-19 pandemic is still around, many people have no jobs and simply need help to put food on the table. When I see them get the food, I feel grateful for Tzu Chi.”
Amelia views the time serving her community well spent, and is thankful for the spiritual growth it’s afforded her as well. Therefore, Amelia invited her friends to come join the food distribution activities together. “This is their first time here,” she’d explained. “Some of us are responsible for checking the ID, and some of us help with loading food in the vehicles. My friends think that Tzu Chi’s activities are great because we also gave out masks and hand sanitizers. Plus, we’re offering information and resources to the families who came.”
As a Tzu Chi Youth volunteer, individuals have the opportunity to foster teamwork and understanding while planting seeds for a more compassionate future and our collective well-being. We’re deeply grateful for the assistance of all as this generation of volunteers strives to be messengers of love and care in the community.