By Oregon, USA Relief Team (Originally in English)
In early December 2013 the weather became cold and the rain began falling in western Oregon, signaling the hardest time of year for homeless people in the area. Our Association members from the Oregon Center thus responded to Supreme Master Ching Hai’s compassionate request to help our homeless friends stay warm by contributing US$14,974 for the purchase of high-quality winter items as holiday gifts, with reimbursement of expenses available from Master.
After speaking with several people living outdoors to determine their needs, we found that the items most required were sleeping bags, jackets and warm socks. We also learned that many homeless individuals needed certain special items, so we ordered tents, sleeping bags, jackets, long and short undergarments, tarps, boots, shoes, blankets, socks, gloves, wheeled backpacks, folding chairs, snow pants, hats, foot and hand warmers, propane bottles, candles and plastic construction bags to keep personal belongings from getting wet.
We decided to distribute the supplies in person after hearing Supreme Master Ching Hai say in a lecture that people are more comforted when relief items are delivered directly. In the past, we had given such items to organizations helping homeless people to distribute, but this time we chose to personally bring the supplies to those less fortunate who live outdoors in Portland, Corvallis, Eugene and Lebanon, Oregon.
After delivering the goods, we received many sincere thanks and also learned more about the lives and special needs of homeless individuals.
Upon receiving winter boots, our hearts were warmed when our homeless friends threw away their thin, torn shoes and put on their new footwear. When one man said that the tent he received protected him and his dog companion from the cold wind and they would thus have a much warmer night, we were very happy that their lives had been improved. Another man informed us that during the extreme cold winter nights the most needed item was heat, so we bought him some fuel for gas heaters or stoves, as well as candles. Others said that the tarps would be very useful in keeping them dry and blocking the wind and rain.
One night, after distributing all the supplies on hand, one of our Association members noticed more homeless people in need of sleeping bags and tarps. The items were immediately purchased to make sure the individuals were kept warmer during the cold nights.
In the spring, there are more homeless people living outdoors because many homeless shelters or facilities close after the winter season. We learned that more people were in need of tarps, socks and flashlights so we purchased these items, which included solar flashlights, for them. Those who received the flashlights were surprised and delighted with the unique gifts, which we wished would bring them joy and light.
During the relief effort we learned much from our homeless friends, and we pray that Heaven will grace them with peaceful futures in safe, warm homes.
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association
for Cold Weather Relief Work in Oregon, USA
|Minus 15 degree Celsius sleeping bags||3,661.10||A|
|Blankets, backpacks, boots, shoes, tents, tarps, foot and hand warmers, men’s and women’s undergarments, socks, gloves, snow pants, hats, trash bags, folding chairs, sleeping bags and blankets||3,163.17|
|Fuel, propane bottles and candles||59.38|
|Men’s thermal undergarments||1,959.72|
|Heavy-duty jackets plus shipping||4,306.00|