Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation gives generous gifts to Kangaroo Island bushfire families

KI locals mayor Michael Pengilly, Anna Osmon, Sue Florance and Cathie Tydeman with the Tzu Chi delegation at the Parndana Town Hall on the weekend. Photo supplied
KI locals mayor Michael Pengilly, Anna Osmon, Sue Florance and Cathie Tydeman with the Tzu Chi delegation at the Parndana Town Hall on the weekend. Photo supplied

A delegation from the Tzu Chi Foundation in Adelaide visited Kangaroo Island on the weekend, meeting those affected by the bushfire disaster.

The Buddhist humanitarian organisation provided $1600 each to 64 households, who applied for the offer of help through Tzu Chi's fire relief grant program, totalling $102,400.

About 38 families attended a gathering at the Parndana Town Hall on Sunday, where cash cards were handed over directly to recipients. Those who could not attend will receive their cheques through the recovery office.

Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation was founded as a humanitarian organisation in 1966 by Master Cheng Yen, a Buddhist nun in Taiwan.

The foundation began as a group of 30 housewives, who saved money for needy families.

KI visit coordinator Jane Tan said the delegation of 20 volunteers from the foundation was led by the Adelaide foundation's director Sunny Yong and deputy director David Wang.

The money for the KI fire relief was raised through donations from foundation members and also selling biscuits.

Tzu Chi also contributed 104 eco-blankets and 64 eco-scarves to the 64 household families, made from recycled plastic bottles by volunteers in Taiwan.

Mayor Michael Pengilly played host to the visitors and like the recipients was humbled by the generosity. "It was wonderful of you Jane and the group to be so kind and generous. Ever grateful," he said.

Jane Tan posted on the KI fire recovery Facebook page thanking the KI locals for their hospitality.

"I would like to express on behalf of all our volunteers at Tzu Chi, how grateful we are to be given an opportunity to be involved in the recovery and be welcomed by the community," she wrote.

She thanked representatives from local bushfire recovery office including Cathie Tydeman and Anna Osmon, as well as fellow hosts the mayor, Tony Davis, Sue Florance and Georgina Goodrich.

"And of course the stars of our thoughts and why we are here in KI...the lovely, friendly families of the community who have given us their time on a Sunday to come and meet us at Parndana Town Hall and make a warm and amazing connection with us. Thank you so much!"

"For us at Tzu Chi, is an honour to be given an opportunity to connect with you, bring a smile, listen to you, to let you know you are not alone to your long road of recovery, we care and we are here if you need a friend," she wrote.

She also thanked the community and all the businesses for the "amazing surprise gift basket" and the lovely card from the Parndana school.

"We wish everyone safe and strong and hold on to positive well being in every step of your day and smile! Love from all at Tzu Chi," she finished.

This is not the first visit to Kangaroo Island by members of the Buddhist faith since the bushfires.

Kangaroo Island meanwhile has its own Buddhist temple out on the western end of the Island in the middle of the fireground.

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