By Curtis Hsing, Tzu Chi Associate Director, Emergency Disaster Services Manager
There are many reasons why the volunteers from Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation like to work with the American Red Cross.
I began my American Red Cross career as a volunteer with the Northern California Silicon Valley Chapter back in 2001, years before I joined Tzu Chi. I worked hand in hand with partners to help people when they suffered a lost in an unpredictable situation such as a home fire, a flood or a wildfire.
Then in 2008, I joined the Tzu Chi Foundation tasked with managing emergency disaster services for the organization. It was an easy transition because my new role had me working hand in hand with the Red Cross coordinating Tzu Chi’s operations to do disaster relief work. We formalized our relationship with the Red Cross when we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2008 and re-signed it in April 2019.
We are so grateful and thankful to the Red Cross because through every collaboration, Tzu Chi has learned so much about the principles of humanitarian work. So much of what the Red Cross teaches meshes with the Tzu Chi culture to make relief work better for those we serve: We stop and listen to the stories of people who have lost everything; give them big hugs; and let them know we are in this together.
I am touched by this work and by the impact we can have, together. That’s why we are here.
About Tzu Chi
Jennifer Johnson, Director of Red Cross Faith Based Affiliates, describes Tzu Chi as an incredible partner to the Red Cross, both locally and nationally. “They are leading the way in resiliency, not just in the faith world, but globally as well, turning plastic water and soda bottles into blankets, portable desks and cots to be used during disaster. They deploy often and are a national asset in disaster language translation.”