Tzu Chi USA, a chapter of the global charity and humanitarian organization headquartered in Taiwan, the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, recently announced that its network of volunteers in the United States had been mobilized in response to the deadly wildfires that wreaked havoc on Hawaii's second largest island. , Maui, since early August. The organization announced a fundraising initiative dubbed “Help Heal Maui,” with a matching fund of US$1 million for donations.
“Tzu Chi Relief volunteers quickly mobilized in the face of this unprecedented challenge,” Tzu Chi USA announced. “We are working closely with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and local agencies to provide immediate assistance. Additionally, we are planning emergency payment card distributions to directly support those most affected by this disaster.
"Through September 30, all donations to 'Help Heal Maui' will be matched up to US$1 million," Tzu Chi USA added. “Amplify your contribution and double the impact. (Tzu Chi USA)
Destructive wildfires have spread rapidly across Maui due to a prolonged drought combined with strong trade winds across the archipelago, fueled by Hurricane Dora to the south. As of this writing, officials in Hawaiʻi have reported that at least 106 people have died from the wildfires, and about 1 people are missing.
Local officials have declared a state of emergency on the island, saying much of the historic town of Lahaina has been destroyed. Non-essential travel to Maui, a popular tourist destination, is discouraged. At a press briefing last week, Governor Green described the situation as the “greatest natural disaster” in state history. The Big Island, from which the Hawaiian archipelago takes its name, has also reported wildfires.
“We've never had a wildfire hit a city like this before,” Green said, adding, “We're seeing this for the first time in many parts of the world. " (BBC News)
A recent report by Reuters news agency estimated $5,5 billion in property losses from the Lahaina wildfires, with tens of thousands of residents and tourists displaced. Reports said the largest fire in Lahaina was 85% contained as of August 16 after raging through 880 acres of land.
Tzu Chi USA noted that volunteers in its Pacific Islands region were organizing their disaster relief response to ensure the distribution of emergency cash cards to individuals and families affected by the fires.
“These funds can help displaced and bereaved households cover the costs of food, clothing, gas, prescription drugs, diapers, housing and more. We are also working with our humanitarian partners the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army to reach as many people as possible,” Tzu Chi USA said in an announcement shared with BDG.
“Our mission goes beyond simple recovery; it is about restoring hope and revitalizing the spirit of those affected,” said Tzu Chi USA. “Each donation brings us closer to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected. Your generosity ensures that despite their current uncertainties, tomorrow promises recovery and restoration. (Tzu Chi USA)
Click here for more details on Tzu Chi's "Help Heal Maui" fundraiser
The Tzu Chi Buddhist Compassion Relief Foundation, Republic of China, better known as the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, was founded in Taiwan in 1966 by Buddhist nun and Dharma teacher Master Cheng Yen. With a focus on "putting compassion into action", the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation is a UN-accredited NGO with some 10 million supporters and 432 offices worldwide in 51 countries, undertaking regular activities in the areas of humanitarian aid, medical care, education, and environmental sustainability.
As a global icon of socially engaged Buddhism, Master Cheng Yen expressed his deep belief that everyone is capable of manifesting the same great compassion as the Buddha. She noted that true compassion is not just about feeling sympathy for the suffering of others, but is found in reaching out to relieve suffering through concrete actions.
Master Cheng Yen is popularly known in Taiwan as one of the "Four Heavenly Kings" of Buddhism, the others being: Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain; Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan; and Master Wei Chueh, founder of Chung Tai Shan. These four global Buddhist orders, known as the "four great mountains", have become one of the most influential Chinese Buddhist organizations in the world.
Life is filled with pain and suffering, but also with hope and love. — Dharma Master Cheng Yen