By Missouri, Arkansas and Texas Relief Teams, USA (Originally in English)
In the summer of 2016, the southern United States was swamped by two major floods. The state of Texas was hit hard with severe storms and flooding in June, which resulted in the loss of 15 lives and was declared a disaster by President Barack Obama. In August, record floods devastated parts of Louisiana, with thousands of people displaced. In response to Supreme Master Ching Hai’s instruction to render aid to those in need, our Association members from different states formed teams to bring spiritual comfort, emergency supplies and financial assistance to the affected people, with US$10,000 generously contributed by Master and US$10,298.96 contributed by our Association members.
Texas Flood Relief
In June, working with local county officials and shelters, our Houston, Texas Association members provided both financial and physical help to those affected in Freeport and Richmond, Texas, with a fund of US$3,500 contributed by our Association members. In Freeport, we worked with The Salvation Army to help the flood victims and families there. In Richmond, we met and worked with Pastor Steeves, head of disaster relief for the Catholic Churches Community in Richmond, to visit and deliver dried vegan foods as well as necessities, such as household cleaning items, for the affected residents who were staying in shelters. We received many thanks and words of gratitude from the families and residents who were victims of the flood disaster.
Louisiana Flood Relief
On August 23, a relief team formed by our Association members from Arkansas and Missouri drove to Baton Rouge, the worst affected city in Louisiana, to distribute various items purchased the day before, including cleaning supplies, clothing and food. One store clerk kindly gave us a discount as a way to support our mission. In Gonzales, where people had not yet received assistance, we went door-to-door to offer supplies. Many came out and gratefully chose what they needed. People expressed amazement and appreciation that we had come from so far to offer help. In another more remote city, two women stayed for over an hour, despite their own problems, to help us organize all the supplies for easy retrieval. We also gave out cash envelopes and shared information about climate change, the vegan diet and meditation. At the end of the day, the remaining supplies were given to a nearby church for distribution in the area.
On August 26 and September 4, another team formed by our Association members from Austin, Texas; Oklahoma; Florida and Arizona returned to Baton Rouge to provide further assistance to the neighboring areas. We were able to distribute more supplies, such as water, vegan food, mosquito repellent and other required items, to the afflicted families. We are grateful for the loving support from our local contacts, including Reverend Peter Nguyễn, representative of the St. Anthony Catholic Church; Pastor Vinh Nguyễn, director of the Baptist Church; Mr. Thích Đạo Quảng from Tam Bảo Temple and the officials from Saint Helena Parish County Sheriff Department.
Our relief team members are deeply grateful to our beloved Master for giving us the opportunity to serve our unfortunate brothers and sisters affected by the floods. We also want to thank our many USA Centers for their kind contributions to the relief effort. We pray that our Earthly co-citizens soon adopt a vegan lifestyle to show compassion to all beings inhabiting this precious planet. May God continue to bless this world with endless peace and love.
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association for Flood Relief Work in Texas and Louisiana, USA
|Supplies for Texas flood victims (dried food and cleaning supplies)||3,495.95||A|
|Supplies and cash assistance for Louisiana flood victims (buckets, mops, gloves, bleach, soaps, towels, washcloths, bottled water, diapers, underwear, socks, peanut butter and mosquito repellent etc.)||16,803.01||A, B|
Texas Flood Relief
Louisiana Flood Relief