New Orleans, Louisiana USA (Originally in English)
In late August 2012, the slow-moving Hurricane Isaac produced heavy rainfall that led to severe flooding and landslides in the Caribbean and the U.S. Gulf Coast region destroying tens of thousands of homes. The storm also generated an estimated 17 tornadoes in the U.S. alone.
Through Her infinite grace and compassion, Supreme Master Ching Hai contributed US$30,000 to aid in the hurricane relief effort and instructed our Association members to help those in need. A group of 20 of our U.S. Association members from Florida, Texas, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, and California took part in the relief team, which brought aid and comfort to both our human and animal friends affected by the storm. The team also assisted other relief organizations.
Aid to Our Human Friends
The relief work was focused on the two most heavily affected areas in Louisiana: Plaquemine Parish and St. John the Baptist Parish. The team also visited the small town of Franklinton. Although Hurricane Isaac was not as severe as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, many Louisiana residents were affected. Hundreds of thousands were left without power or water for many days, and flood waters reached the roofs of homes in some areas.
Our team was able to work along with American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the US Army to distribute relief supplies and food to those affected.
In addition to these agencies, we worked with several churches cooking hot vegan meals for distribution, and purchasing cleaning provisions, personal hygiene supplies, and other items.
Throughout the relief effort, approximately 6,000 cooked meals were served. The meals had labels indicating that they were vegan and provided a link to Godsdirectcontact.org.
The relief team members used a new, portable mass cooking system consisting of four large rice cookers and three woks, and were thus able to produce over two thousand meals a day with a staff of five (two cooks and three workers to prep and pack). No refrigeration was needed. An area of approximately 10 feet by 10 feet was used for cooking. With this approach, we were able to provide nutritious and delicious vegan meals both inexpensively and efficiently. The system can be scaled up by simply adding more rice cookers and woks.
In addition, about 350 gift bags containing toiletries, diapers, personal hygiene items, bread, peanut butter and water were distributed. And approximately 40 sets of boots, brooms, bleach, and cleaning supplies were given to families in areas that were still partially flooded.
When working with US Army personnel to distribute aid, we also gave food to the soldiers who enjoyed it greatly. One soldier said that the food was very good, and asked for the same food for lunch that we served for breakfast.
We had a small, “mobile unit” team that drove to still-flooded areas and then walked house to house in knee-deep water to deliver food, aid and supplies to the affected. The team received many appreciative comments. One lady broke down in tears after receiving the aid.
Aid to Our Animal Friends
Aid to our animal friends focused on two no-kill shelters in the New Orleans area: Animal Rescue of New Orleans (ARNO) and the Plaquemines Parish Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). These organizations rescued and found new homes for over 150 cats, dogs, and snakes that were stranded as a result of Hurricane Isaac.
Approximately US$6,000 in supplies including 150 harnesses and leashes, 150 toys, cat litter, paper towels, bleach, cleaning items and medicine were given to these shelters.
Aside from material aid, US$12,000 was provided to the shelters for the purchase of additional medicine, and for improvement of their buildings to make the animal residents more comfortable.
After speaking with the supervisor of PAWS to determine the shelter’s needs, we delivered our first batch of food and cleaning supplies. The supervisor was very grateful because the shelter had been short of funds to buy items to help the animals. In our last visit to PAWS, we presented a check to the shelter for US$9,000. The supervisor and the vice president of PAWS who were present at the time, shed tears of happiness for the much-needed funds.
In addition, several organizations extended their appreciation and gratitude; for example, FEMA recognized Supreme Master Ching Hai’s benevolence with a certificate of appreciation, and ARNO thanked us with a phone call after the effort. Also, Church International of LaPlace, Louisiana, with whom we did relief work, held a conference in October 2012 at which the church thanked our organization. We were called to the podium where we thanked God, Church International and all those involved on behalf of the The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association. Again we thank Master for this opportunity to serve in times of need.
Thanks and grace go to all those who selflessly helped to bring relief to those affected by Hurricane Isaac. Boundless love and gratitude to Supreme Master Ching Hai for perfectly arranging all the details of the relief effort. The power of love can indeed create miracles.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association for Hurricane Relief Work in New Orleans, USA
|Food (rice, beans, sugar, cooking oil, bread, peanut butter, water, and textured vegetable protein) and supplies (boots, brooms, cleaning supplies, toiletries, diapers, personal hygiene items) for the affected people; supplies contributed to the animal shelters (harnesses, leashes, toys, cat litter, paper towels, bleach, cleaning items and medicine)||25,060.91||A|
|Cash contributed to the animal shelters||12,000.00||B|
|Transportation (car rental and gasoline)||848.60||D|
|Cash for the affected people||320.00||E|
The relief team members paid for their travel expenses.