By Oregon, USA News Team (Originally in English)
Following Supreme Master Ching Hai’s compassionate instruction to quickly provide warmth to the homeless during the cold winter, in December 2012 a team of our Oregon Association members contacted people living under bridges to determine what items they most required. We also contacted local police departments for information on the homeless populations in their areas and the organizations caring for them, and estimated the number of people living outdoors to be approximately 3,000. Supreme Master Ching Hai’s generous contribution of US$25,000 along with funds from local members made it possible for us to purchase enough warm winter items for the entire population.
We then ordered heavy duty, fleece-lined jackets, long underwear, socks, hats, gloves and sleeping bags, as well as size 5X clothes, tents, tarps and a travel bags based on special requests. Knowing the items were for the homeless, the supplier helped us save on shipping costs.
We next packaged the items for easy distribution at 13 facilities that serve those less fortunate.
As the weather was getting colder and snow was expected, we wanted to deliver the items quickly. Through God’s grace, nearly 9,000 items were packaged in one day. On December 15 we traveled to the first distribution site just before lunchtime, and by December 17 had delivered all the supplies to shelters in the cities of Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Salem, Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon and Eugene, just a day before snowfall began in some areas.
All the organizations sincerely appreciated the help made possible by Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving contribution, and several staff members said they had never before experienced such generosity. The workers also assured us they would distribute the items to those in need as quickly as possible. The following are the contents of thank-you letters from some of the groups.
“Your donation of coats, sleeping bags, thermal underwear, hats, socks and gloves have made a profound difference in the basic comfort of the homeless individuals we serve. Recipients have, without exception, expressed extreme gratitude for your gifts. Thank you!” (the ARCHES Project, a community service agency in Salem)
“Every day, Luke-Dorf’s outreach team goes out into the field to connect with and support the mentally ill homeless population in our area. We see firsthand the struggles they face, and do everything in our power to connect them with the resources they need. Your extremely generous donation was just the resource they needed during these cold winter months.” (Luke-Dorf, a non-profit mental health agency in Tigard)
“Over the past few weeks, it has been a wonderful experience to be able to distribute the items you donated. Because of the cold weather, all the items have been warmly received. You and your group have made a tremendous impact on our local homeless population. Thanks to you they are much warmer than they have ever been.” (White Bird Clinic in Eugene)
“Thank you so much for thinking of our guests here at the Eugene Service Station. Many people are warmer because of your thoughtfulness.” (Eugene Service Station)
In addition, Aleita Hass-Holcombe, president of the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center said that she treasured the items very much and suggested they be used as Christmas gifts, for which everyone in the Center expressed great joy and gratitude.
Many people immediately put on their new jackets, which seemed to brighten their day. One person said that it is often difficult for him to find clothes in his size. So our team purchased special sets of clothing for him, including thermal underwear, a coat and a pair of pants. Because he has a dog and the homeless shelter nearby does not allow pets, he had been staying outdoors and playing the harmonica on the street to earn money. Upon receiving a new travel bag and a copy of The Key of Immediate Enlightenment Sample Booklet, the man tearfully looked at Master’s picture on the booklet and said, “I’m so touched by the gift. Please tell her that I’m really touched and thankful.”
One woman requested a tent because she wanted privacy from the men living outdoors near her. Our team was delighted to fulfill her wish. One man said the sleeping bags were “treasures.”
When we delivered supplies to one of the locations in Eugene, the people expressed their sincere gratitude. Many stood outside to wave goodbye when we left.
While distributing items to those living under bridges in the city of Corvallis, we noticed several people taking care of healthy, happy dogs.
As we delivered the clothing, our team members spoke with some of the recipients to learn more about their lives. When asked how they endure extremely cold weather at night, one replied, “We live only day by day.” Several people also spoke of special needs not covered by our basic supplies, such as a tent, and an insulated sleeping mat to help relieve back pain. Another man asked for a backpack so that he could travel to his mother’s place when the weather got warmer.
All of these wishes were fulfilled thanks to the caring contribution of Supreme Master Ching Hai. We are deeply grateful to Master for enabling us to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association
for Winter Weather Relief Work in Oregon, USA
|Sleeping bags, heavy duty jackets, underwear, pants, socks, hats, gloves, shipping fees, a tent, a tarp and a travel backpack||33,408||A|
|Miscellaneous expenses (bags, shipping charge, U-Haul rental, gasoline, markers and tape, etc.)||354||B|