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Sending Love to Ukrainian Refugees

As the Russia-Ukraine war rages on, Master Cheng Yen urged Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide to consolidate their strengths to help the displaced Ukrainian refugees. On May 7, a charity food bazaar was held at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to raise funds for the Ukrainian refugees.
“This Hakka kueh is made by our volunteers, please support us!”
“These corns were just harvested this morning, so they are very fresh!”
“These are authentic Taiwanese food, they are delicious!”
This was no ordinary carnival. The dining area of the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall had turned into a bustling charity bazaar, selling a tantalizing spread of vegetarian food. It was a resounding success as satisfied visitors could not resist walking away with bags of tempting treats.
The dining area of the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall was bustling with over 30 stalls selling a variety of vegetarian food. [Photo by Chan Tuck Meng]
◎ Creating ripples of love
With over five million people displaced by the Russia-Ukraine war, the global Tzu Chi community launched a fundraising event to reach out to the Ukrainian refugees. In the same light, volunteers from various communities in Klang Valley readily responded to the call, collaborating with the Entrepreneurs’ Group, Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA), Still Thoughts Culture Publications, Tzu Chi Continuing Education Centres, TCISKL and other units to set up 33 stalls for the charity food bazaar.
A few days before the charity bazaar, ten TIMA members gathered at Dr. Lim Lei Jun’s home to produce 111 jars of nutritional yeast nut, butter and date paste. Dr. Lim shared with delight, “It is very meaningful that we can work together for the bazaar and help the homeless Ukrainian children.”
Her two daughters helped to design the jar labels and rinse the jars. The eldest daughter said, “I know about the Russia-Ukraine war, but I did not know what I could do for the refugees. I am glad to contribute by designing the labels.”
Volunteers gathered at Dr. Lim Lei Jun's (left) house to prepare homemade plant-based paste for the charity bazaar. [Photo by Lau Choon Nee]
Dr. Lim Lei Jun's eldest daughter, who is gifted in art, helped to design the jar labels.[Photo by Lau Choon Nee]
The stall, manned by the TIMA team, featured whole-food plant-based (WFPB) food. Other than the homemade paste, there were 130 bento sets sponsored by six vegetarian restaurants. This was to promote the concept of a WFPB diet. In addition, the team also provided nutrition consultation and encouraged the attendees to participate in the “Healthier Me” 21-day challenge to experience the benefits of a WFPB diet.
Wong Ling Ling found the homemade paste and WFPB enlightening. “This paste, with its rich ingredients of cashew nuts, almonds, spices and nutritional yeast, is rich in vitamin B12. It can be spread on bread, or added to pasta sauce to replace cheese. The Healthy Eating Plate infographic highlights the importance of a balanced diet.”
In her reflection, Ling Ling, a vegetarian for over two decades, felt she could be eating healthier. She has signed up for the 21-day challenge and hopes to learn to prepare WFPB meals.
One heartfelt gesture leads to another
A booth that particularly stood out was the one run by TCISKL students and staff who were busily promoting sesame cold noodles, braised tofu and other Taiwanese delicacies. The food was prepared by the school canteen operators from Taiwan, together with teachers and staff.
Soon Chiew Hoon, a TCISKL staff, felt honoured to participate in the charity sale. She arrived at the school at 5 a.m. to help pack the food before heading for the charity sale. Although drained out physically, her heart bubbled with joy. She said, “I am happy to chip in my effort to help the Ukrainian refugees. I am even happier to see the support from the public.”
At a corner of the hall were some booths selling local snacks. It was a humbling moment when Gunavathy, the mother of former Tzu Chi care recipient Anursha, donated 20 containers of murukku (Indian crackers). She penned a message: “I would like to thank Tzu Chi volunteers for extending help and support to my daughter and me in the past. Today, I am helping others in the name of my late daughter. Although she is no longer with us, please give her your well wishes so that she could be happy and safe in heaven, and be free from suffering.”
Another care recipient Xia Yoon Thai prepared homemade chee cheong fun (steamed rice rolls). She said, “I am fortunate, compared to the refugees. Tzu Chi helped me in the most difficult time. Now that I am able to help others, I will do more to raise more money.”
Tzu Chi's care recipient Xia Yoon Thai seized the opportunity to reciprocate the kindness she has received. [Photo by Ng Shie Yuh]
With a singular mission and a concerted effort, the food was sold out earlier than expected, and the contributions were hugely encouraging. The charity act will bring warmth to the displaced Ukrainians.
(Source of information: The Documenting Team)
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