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After deadly tornadoes ripped through six states this weekend, Tzu Chi has mobilized to bring love and care to survivors.

Our hearts are with all the individuals and families touched by this disaster across Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. As we keep them in our thoughts, Tzu Chi volunteers across the country are ready to help.

Join us in bringing love and meaningful care to tornado survivors!

We’re bringing emergency financial aid to tornado survivors. You can join us.

See Our Latest Relief Efforts

December 24

On Christmas Eve, Tzu Chi volunteers begin a one-day distribution in Bowling Green, KY. 186 families from Bowling Green and nearby Dawson Springs arrive to receive help.

As a token of his appreciation, Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott presents a key to the city to Tzu Chi Midwest Executive Director Chong Hsieh and Tzu Chi volunteer Amy Hsieh.

By now, Tzu Chi volunteers have fulfilled their immediate goal in providing emergency aid to tornado-impacted families before the Christmas holiday. We anticipate further support for families as time goes on.

December 23

Today, a second day of distributions continues in Mayfield, KY. 162 separate families arrive and receive their $1,000 cash cards, along with relief supplies and Christmas gifts.

Tzu Chi volunteers spend time with each of them, hearing out their experiences and connecting to their pain. Some care recipients include those with injuries as well as survivors of the deadly damage done to nearby Mayfield Consumer Products, a candle factory which made headlines earlier this month.

Community partner Steven Nelson of the American Red Cross remarks on the impact Tzu Chi’s work is having on tornado survivors: “you can tell by the looks on their face, the tears in their eyes, that your gift is very much appreciated.”

December 22

In Mayfield, the first day of distribution begins with a group prayer that included volunteers from Tzu Chi as well as the American Red Cross. They have so graciously supported our efforts by providing us with survivors’ contact information so we could reach them directly.

During our visits with each family, we are not only providing cash cards and supplies, but we are listening to their stories of trauma and survival through this entire ordeal. Though money has its limits, compassion does not, and we are humbled to be able to lend a shoulder to cry on for people who have gone through so much.

We are also grateful to the 11 local volunteers who are joining us from nearby Paducah, KY. Together, we are putting COVID-19 safety measures in place – including mask-wearing and setting up acrylic dividers at each station.

December 21

Tzu Chi’s assessment team travels to Bowling Green, KY, another city hard-hit by tornadoes this December. There, they meet with Mayor Todd Alcott and discuss plans to host a distribution on Friday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve.

At the same time, Tzu Chi volunteers gather in Mayfield, KY to prepare care packages for two days of large-scale distributions here, beginning tomorrow from 9:30AM – 3:30PM. They also visit a memorial in front of City Hall to pay their respects to those who passed as a result of this tragedy. Volunteers have come from all across the Midwest – St. Louis, MO, Columbus, OH, Dayton, OH, Indianapolis, IN, Lansing, MI, Ann Arbor, MI, and Milwaukee, WI.

December 20

A disaster assessment team visits an Amish community impacted by the tornadoes in Mayfield, KY. Community members explain their losses, including a church that is more than 150 years old. Tzu Chi volunteers present them with cash cards, eco-blankets, eco-scarves, and bamboo banks.

At the same time, logistics of the large-scale distribution begin to finalize. The Mayfield Sports Complex is chosen to host large-scale distributions as early as Wednesday, December 22, to Thursday, December 23.

December 19

In Chicago, IL, Tzu Chi Midwest volunteers pack and begin transporting 1,500 DA.AI Technology eco-blankets and 2,500 eco-scarves, made from a plush, cozy fabric composed entirely of recycled plastic bottles. They also pack winter hats and gloves, toothbrushes and toothpaste, glow sticks and flashlights, and hand sanitizer and face masks. A stock of children’s books is also included for little ones to take with them. All these items will be given out during distributions in Mayfield, KY before Christmas. 9 hardworking volunteers from Chicago, IL and the 3 volunteers from St. Louis help in this effort.

December 18

Tzu Chi Midwest volunteers continue their plans and preparations for next week’s large-scale distributions.

Tzu Chi St. Louis volunteers host a tornado relief distribution in Hayti, southeast Missouri. 24 households receive emergency cash cards loaded with $1,000.

December 17

In Defiance, MO, Tzu Chi volunteers host a distribution ready to provide 95 households with emergency financial aid at $1,000 each.

December 16

During the assessment of Mayfield, KY, Tzu Chi Relief volunteers touched base with some local residents, police, and Reporter Jack Kane from WPSD.

They also visited Randy Ro, the son of Tzu Chi volunteer Amy Hsieh’s former colleague, Dr. Chun Ro, with whom she taught at the University of Kentucky at least 35 years ago. Then, Amy had given Randy a tie at his high school graduation – which he still has today. At their visit, Randy committed to rallying local volunteers for training to help tornado survivors.

December 15

Mayfield, KY has seen horrific damage by last weekend’s barrage of tornadoes. In response, a Tzu Chi assessment team, including Tzu Chi Midwest’s Executive Director Chong Hsieh, Amy Hsieh, Ching Hsiung Lin, and Yue Ma set out on a roughly 400 mile journey there from Chicago, IL to gather in-person information.

They begin their trip with a brief prayer before departure, and load a supply of eco-scarves to distribute to tornado survivors on sight. Their primary goal in Mayfield is to meet with local officials, agencies, and partners to organize the logistics of large-scale distributions before Christmas next week.

Upon arrival in Mayfield, KY, Tzu Chi Relief volunteers touched base with some local residents, police, and Reporter Jack Kane from WPSD.

They also visited Randy Ro, the son of Tzu Chi volunteer Amy Hsieh’s former colleague, Dr. Chun Ro, with whom she taught at the University of Kentucky at least 35 years ago. Then, Amy had given Randy a tie at his high school graduation – which he still has today. At their visit, Randy committed to rallying local volunteers for training to help tornado survivors.

In the meantime, fellow volunteers from the Tzu Chi Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in NJ are sending 800 eco-scarves via UPS to be distributed next week.

December 14

Tzu Chi USA and its Regional Offices including Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Central implement their disaster relief strategy, which aims to offer assistance to more than a 1,000 households by Christmas.

The first distribution is set to take place on Friday, 12/17, in Defiance, MO, and will serve 95 families, each with $1,000 via emergency cash card.

 

December 13

In partnership with Missouri’s State Emergency Management Association (or SEMA), Tzu Chi St. Louis volunteers are meeting to discuss joint post-tornado recovery plans, as volunteers in other cities and states ready their disaster response.

In the meantime, at least 12 of those confirmed dead in Kentucky are children. More than 100 still remain missing.

December 12

Tzu Chi St. Louis volunteers travel to assess the damage in Defiance, MO. They meet with survivors, and come upon a family outside their former home grieving the loss of a family member.

 

December 10-11

Tornadoes tear through the American Midwest – leaving a trail of death of destruction in their wake. At least 50 reports of tornadoes emerge from Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. Kentucky is particularly strongly hit, with one town being razed 75% to the ground. 

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