College Students Gladly Serve the Community in Austin

Southern  |  May 2, 2022
Tzu Chi Collegiate Association (Tzu Ching) members at the University of Texas at Austin participate in the Tzu Chi Annual Community Weekend. Photo/Weiyao Wen

Written by Fangwen Huang 
Translated by Chenglin Li
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska

On April 9, 2022, the Tzu Chi Collegiate Association (Tzu Ching) at the University of Texas at Austin responded to the Tzu Chi Annual Community Weekend and invited members to the Austin Central Food Bank to assist with food packaging. Seventeen energetic, youthful, and enthusiastic members participated in the event.

The Tzu Chi Annual Community Weekend, co-organized by Tzu Chi USA’s Youth Leaders Program, upholds the spirit of “Unite and Serve Together.” In this post-pandemic era, the aim was to reintegrate young friends to collaborate in community services and create a new benevolent generation jointly.

Tzu Ching members at the University of Texas at Austin help with food packing at the Central Food Bank in Austin. Photo/Weiyao Wen

To maximize the influence of the Tzu Chi Annual Community Weekend, Tzu Ching alumni in the United States worked together to curate more opportunities for service by current Tzu Chings. Through online social media dissemination, they leveraged momentum to spread the news about the upcoming event and gather heartfelt participation from members.

Benevolence in Texas

Tzu Chings at the University of Texas at Austin went to the Austin Central Food Bank on the event day. Together with university staff and volunteers, they sorted, weighed, and packaged food for donation. When sorting the food, they also needed to check the shelf life and quality of fresh produce and goods and confirm that each 16-pound box contained a variety of foods.

Once the team completed that part of the task, they neatly stacked the packaged food boxes on pallets for easy transportation, wrapping the outside with waterproof plastic to avoid moisture deterioration.

When packaging, volunteers ensure that the contents in each carton have a variety of foods and produce. Photo/Weiyao Wen

Tzu Ching Erica Chang’s task was to ensure the quality of the food. She carefully checked each package of ingredients to make sure that they were still within their shelf life and put them in the cartons after they were approved.

‘Unite and Serve Together’ means that everyone works together and contributes to the people and families in need within the community. The service of Tzu Chings is also based on this motto.

Tzu Chings verify that food is not past its expiration date before adding it to the packed boxes. Photo/Weiyao Wen

Touching Highlights

Tzu Ching Abraham Roseman’s favorite activities are doing community greening work and cleaning up parks, but he also enthusiastically responded to participating in the food bank packaging event. “Getting together and interacting with each other is the unique characteristic and most interesting part of Tzu Ching,” he shared after completing the task of food packaging as a team, which was the highlight of the whole venture in his eyes.

Tzu Ching Abraham Roseman confirms that each box contains 16 pounds of ingredients. Photo/Weiyao Wen

Tzu Ching Erik Cheng was responsible for confirming the packed food boxes, each of which had to weigh 16 pounds, and then stacking the boxes on pallets for transport. “Tzu Ching is well-led, allowing everyone to have pleasant social interactions and gain more meaningful life experiences from serving the community and interacting with people,” he shared.

'Unite and serve together' means that we must work together to build a better community and give together. It's the core meaning of the event and Tzu Chi's mission.

Erik’s favorite community service activity is also cleaning parks, picking up trash, and tidying the environment so that people in the community can enjoy it. He believes that in the process of cleaning, he also gets the opportunity to get close to nature, which is a win-win for him.

Tzu Ching Erik Cheng ensures that boxes are properly stacked on pallets. Photo/Weiyao Wen
Every item of food delivered by the food bank is carefully selected. Photo/Weiyao Wen

The complicated packaging procedures one after another were not difficult for the energetic college students. Seventeen volunteers, working three hours in a non-stop, neat, and cooperative relay, packed 315 boxes with food, equivalent to providing 4,200 meals for disadvantaged families in the community – truly achieving the “unite and serve together” goal.

The non-stop food packing work is not difficult for the energetic Tzu Chings. Photo/Weiyao Wen

Perhaps these community-minded college students have inspired you to volunteer, and Tzu Chi USA welcomes you to our family of care. The first step is registering by letting us know where you live and what forms of fields of service are of interest. Let’s join hands because together, we can do more!

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