From December 10-11, a series of deadly tornadoes tore through the Midwest and the Southeast United States. Western Kentucky bears the brunt of this devastation, with at least 78 confirmed dead across the state alone. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, with Mayfield, KY among those cities hardest hit. In response, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (also known as Tzu Chi USA) aims to provide emergency financial aid to impacted families from Dec 22-23 at the Mayfield Sports Complex (925 N 15th St, Mayfield, KY 42066) ahead of Christmas.
As early as December 12, Tzu Chi volunteers from St. Louis, MO set out for Defiance, MO. After assessing the situation there, they began plans for distribution to offer emergency financial aid for severely impacted households on Friday, December 17. Each family received a cash card, loaded with $1,000 (to spend freely on their most pressing expenses), as well as a DA.AI Technology eco-blanket and eco-scarf, and face masks.
A few days later, on December 15, another group of Tzu Chi volunteers, this time from the Tzu Chi Midwest Regional Office in Chicago, IL, made the 400 miles trip by car to Mayfield, KY. Assessment team members included Tzu Chi Midwest Executive Director Chong Hsieh, Amy Hsieh, Ching Hsiung Lin, and Yue Ma. On arrival, WPSD Local 6 Reporter Jack Kane shed light on the small yet significant ways survivors were currently struggling:
“We’re to the point where a lot of these people, they lost all of their possessions. Some of these people don’t have clothes, even simple things. They don’t even have socks to put on their feet, you know, they don’t have underwear. This is the worst moment of their lives.” – WPSD Local 6 Reporter Jack Kane.
From there, the assessment team began mapping out large-scale distributions in Mayfield, KY, with plans to provide severely impacted families with $1,000 each before Christmas. In cooperation with the City of Mayfield and the American Red Cross, we begin tomorrow, Wednesday, December 22, and will continue through tomorrow, Thursday, December 23 at the Mayfield Sports Complex from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM. Volunteers from across the Midwest including Chicago, as well as local volunteers from Mayfield, will support the distributions.
In addition, care recipients may expect to receive eco-blankets, eco-scarves, hats, gloves, toothbrushes, toothpaste, glow sticks and/or flashlights, hand sanitizer, face masks, and other items. As a bonus, Christmas gifts, specially prepared by Tzu Chi volunteers, will be made available for survivors to take with them. Learning of Tzu Chi’s plans, Mayor Kathy O’Nan, who will attend our distributions, cried:
“Everybody’s been so generous, but this one just really hit me specially… I am humbled; humbled to realize what you’re bringing to our community.” – Mayor of Mayfield Kathy O’Nan.