By Taipei, Formosa News Group (Originally in Chinese)
The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the four major traditional festivals in Chinese culture. Watching dragon boat competitions and eating zongzis (sticky rice dumplings) are the highlights of this marvelous holiday. On June 16-17, just before the 2015 Festival, our Taipei Center Association members followed Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving example of caring for homeless and disadvantaged people by participating in a charity event, the “2015 Dragon Boat Festival Celebration in New Taipei City – Sharing Holiday Zongzi on the Street.” The event was held in the Banqiao District, New Taipei City, in cooperation with the New Taipei City Volunteer Center and the Social Welfare Department, Taipei City. During the Festival, 200 of our homeless friends were each given five pieces of five-grain vegan zongzi to celebrate the holiday, and one apple symbolizing peace and safety.
On June 16, our Association members personally distributed gifts to a group of homeless persons. During the activity, Mr. Chen Jia-Xing, Chief of Social Assistance/Relief Section, New Taipei City, happily took pictures with our Association members and our long-term charity partners, the volunteers of the New Taipei City Volunteer Center. Ms. Huang Mei-Ying, the Secretary General of the Volunteer Center said, “We thank The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association for its long-term support of our many volunteer endeavors. It is our wish that we follow the benevolent steps of Supreme Master Ching Hai and continue to devote our love and efforts to those less fortunate.” The Volunteer Center’s chairman, Mr. Lu Li-Ming, then presented a Certificate of Appreciation to our Association.
On the evening of June 17, two teams of our Association members followed social workers to places near the Taipei Railway Station where homeless people sleep at night, and distributed vegan zongzis, apples and cold drinks. After hearing that we were coming, our homeless friends had already lined up, waiting patiently to greet us and the social workers. Some people in wheelchairs also came to receive the gifts with the help of other homeless friends.
While our teams were distributing the gifts, two women who were homeless rushed up to us and said, “We haven’t received any zongzis.” We then happily gave them some gifts right away. The social workers then pointed to a telephone booth and said, “There is a man who is homeless who has been residing in that booth for a long time. He has not returned yet.” So, we left a gift in the booth for him. Also, an elderly woman who often sleeps at the entrance of the railway station kept saying, “Thank you for your kind help. Thank you for all your loving care!”
Through chatting with the kind people at the station, we learned their sad stories, and were moved to see how they care for one another like family members. Upon bidding goodbye, we prayed that they would soon have secure, peaceful lives in safe, comfortable homes.