Multiplying goodness for humanity

Nearly 3,000 residents of Loboc, Bohol (below) sign up to be donating members and volunteers of Tzu Chi Philippines Foundation. Piggy Sue Rivera, a resident of Barangay Villaflor (left), in Loboc town, with a Tzu Chi coin can that will support humanitarian missions in the country and around the world. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF BUDDHIST TZU CHI FOUNDATION PHILIPPINES

It’s not surprising that Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation in the Philippines sustains its charitable endeavors in the country and worldwide. The humanitarian organization has its legion of donors and volunteers. And their number is growing.

Recently, a total 828 families from Bohol signed up as donors and volunteers of the group’s provincial chapter, reveals Michael Siao, deputy CEO of the foundation.

Almost everyone who attended the event at the Jad Cultural Center expressed their willingness to be donating members by adopting the Tzu Chi coin cans.

“We advocate the Tzu Chi Coin Bank as this implies that even the smallest contribution, whether it’s a centavo or a peso we put inside it, holds a significant value when accumulated. That these contributions can benefit to help others beyond oneself,” Siao explains.

“This embodies the essence of sowing seeds of kindness and multiplying the goodness for the betterment of humanity.”

The 828 families who joined BTCFP account for around 2,800 donating members, according to Siao. Volunteers will be assigned to help collect the pledged contributions from donating members monthly.

“Donations are essential for supporting Tzu Chi’s ongoing humanitarian missions around the world. Whether it’s providing disaster relief, offering healthcare services, conducting environmental initiatives, or supporting education programs, financial contributions enable the foundation to continue its vital work and reach more people in need,” Siao tells the DAILY TRIBUNE.

“We do not set a fixed amount for each donating member’s contribution. It’s all up to how much they can afford and are happy to give. Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi Foundation, teaches that compassion is the essence of human nature. The act of kindness not only benefits the recipients but also cultivates compassion within the donor’s heart. Giving freely without expecting anything in return cultivates a sense of gratitude and generosity,” he says.

Piggy Sue Rivera, a resident of Villaflor, was among those who signed up as donor-volunteers.

“We, the people of Loboc, are delighted that Tzu Chi has come to our area. We believe that it’s more beneficial to help others than to solely receiving assistance ourselves. If we have something to give, why not extend help to others who are in need?” according to Rivera.

“I signed up to volunteer and adopted a coin can because I want to be someone who contributes to the welfare of the majority through the Tzu Chi Foundation,” Katherine Odal, a Sangguniang Bayan member of the Municipality of Loboc, said during the event.

“Tzu Chi Foundation isn’t just present during calamities; they also assist our fellow citizens in need of medical help. Moreover, our youth who aspire to be educated found support through the organization’s scholarship program,” added Odal.

All-out support

In December 2021, a powerful typhoon named “Odette” swept across the province of Bohol, causing widespread damage to many towns, including Loboc. Responding to the needs of the affected families, the Tzu Chi Foundation provided each household in Loboc with 20 kilograms of rice and deployed heavy equipment to help clear the flooded areas along the riversides.

Even after the town slowly recovered from the crisis, Tzu Chi continued its assistance to Loboc residents by donating computers to elementary schools, ensuring educational support for the children, and offering medical aid to those in need.

On 23 March 2024, the Tzu Chi Foundation held its Chinese New Year blessing event for the people of Loboc. Residents from the said town gathered at the basketball court to reflect on the blessings received over the past years.

The Loboc Youth Ambassadors, a group of young individuals dedicated to community engagement and cultural enrichment, took the stage as an opening act of the event, and performed several captivating musical pieces.

 “This event is not only about experiencing the blessings and teachings of Dharma Master Cheng Yen but also about witnessing the growth and changes that have occurred here in Bohol through Tzu Chi’s aid and support. It’s a moment to reflect on the impact of the missions of Tzu Chi has made and the transformations you have been a part of,” Tzu Chi Bohol’s deputy coordinator, Brother Joven Uy, told the audience.

During the event, each participants received the Tzu Chi red packet, symbolizing blessings and a reminder to spread love and follow the path of compassion in serving others.

“Today, we are filled with joy as Master Cheng Yen gave her blessing for us to host this event here in Loboc. We look forward to being able to serve the town even more with the help and support of the newly signed up volunteers,” Bro. James Chua, Tzu Chi Bohol coordinator, said in his closing statement.