By USA News Group (Originally in English)
The winter of 2013-2014 in the United States was extremely long and cold, with temperatures dipping to 10 degrees below zero Celsius in many states. Deeply concerned about the well-being of the homeless, Supreme Master Ching Hai instructed Centers to conduct relief efforts. She also provided a fund of over US$33,000, which allowed our Association members around the country to bring timely love and aid to our brothers and sisters suffering from the freezing weather.
In January 2014, with US$4,000 in funds provided by Supreme Master Ching Hai and $668.86 by our Association members, the Arkansas Center sent blankets, tents, sleeping bags, hats, gloves, coats and hand and foot warmers to Souls Harbor in the town of Rogers and to The Salvation Army in Fayetteville. Souls Harbor is a transitional living facility for the homeless. A US$1,500 check from the relief funds was also given to the Catholic charity St. Vincent De Paul, which used the funds to pay the heating bills of disadvantaged individuals in Berryville, Eureka Springs, and surrounding areas.
All through the cold period from January to March, a group of our Association members from the Georgia Center distributed sleeping bags, warm clothing and vegan food to homeless individuals in Atlanta with Supreme Master Ching Hai’s generous contribution of US$15,000 and US$7,838 from the Georgia Center. The group rendered aid to people staying under bridges and at the city’s shelter for those most in need, as well as to those wandering the streets. For example, from January 5 to 7, they served hot vegan food and distributed over 800 bags containing warm clothes, regular and solar emergency blankets and other essential items to help homeless individuals cope with the freezing temperatures. The recipients were deeply grateful for the aid, expressing words of prayer and blessing. Also, on the last day of the distribution effort, the group met a person who guided them to where needy women and children were staying, so they could distribute sleeping bags. Our local Association members continue to serve 600 meals each month at one of Atlanta’s homeless shelters for the most disadvantaged.
Upon receiving Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving message to help disadvantaged people in winter, our Illinois Association members contributed US$1,245.08 for the purchase of sleeping bags, pads, hand warmers, snacks and drinks, which they distributed in downtown Chicago on January 9. More than 10 homeless individuals near Randolph Street and Wacker Drive happily received the relief items.
With US$4,000 in relief funds from Supreme Master Ching Hai and US$419.57 contributed by our local Association members, a team from the Maryland Center distributed emergency supplies and shipped more items to homeless shelters and agencies in the city of Baltimore. Many less fortunate people living on the streets were touched by these acts of love and wept openly. Upon receiving a sleeping bag, one woman said, “I desperately need it.” And a gentleman in a wheelchair exclaimed, “All God’s blessings, God’s gifts!” All the team members felt deeply privileged to learn the lesson of love through this activity.
With Supreme Master Ching Hai’s contribution of US$5,000 and US$1,222 contributed by the New Jersey Center, our local Association members distributed 174 relief packages. The recipients of these packages were: Hoboken Shelter in Hoboken, Real House Inc. women’s shelter in Montclair City, Sussex County Interfaith Hospitality Network emergency shelter in Newton, and Ana M. Sample House in Camden. In addition, some of the relief packages went to two tent cities for homeless people and a place where homeless individuals spend the night in the Walter Rand Transportation Center. The packages each contained a hat, a scarf, gloves, socks, thermal undergarments and a blanket. In addition to the winter gear, the tent-city residents also received sleeping bags, chafing fuel, firewood and sand.
On January 10, a group including our Association members, Loving Hut customers, and other friends distributed clothing to the homeless people in New York City. With Supreme Master Ching Hai’s contribution of US$4,000, the group prepared packages for both men and women, each containing a warm hat, scarf, thick gloves, thermal underwear and three pairs of thick socks. Working with the organization Coalition for the Homeless, they were able to efficiently reach those in need.
In January, with Supreme Master Ching Hai’s US$1,928.84 contribution, a team of our Association members from Austin, Texas purchased sleeping bags, socks and vegan food, and delivered the items to over 100 homeless people along Interstate Highway 35(IH35) and to The Salvation Army shelter in downtown Austin.
The relief teams, deeply grateful to Supreme Master Ching Hai for Her compassion, felt happy to be able to deliver timely aid to those less fortunate who had been unable to defend themselves from the extreme weather. May the spirit of sharing and caring grow so that all humankind will possess the basic needs of food and shelter.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association
for Winter Relief Work in the US
Hats, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, hand and foot warmers and a US$1,500 check to the St. Vincent De Paul charity
Sleeping bags, blankets, hand and foot warmers, thermal underwear, socks, hats, coolers and a $7,965 cash contribution
Sleeping bags, pads, hand warmers and vegan food
Sleeping bags, gloves, sweaters, hats, socks, snacks, water and fruit, etc.
|New Jersey Center:
Blankets, hats, gloves, socks, thermal undergarments, scarves, hooded sweaters, sleeping bags, chafing fuel and firewood; transport and packaging of relief supplies
|New York Center:
Warm hats, scarves, thick gloves, thermal undergarments, and thick socks
Sleeping bags, socks, and vegan food