Written by Lili Lin, Meixue Yang
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska
Tzu Chi Elementary School in Walnut, California, organized a clothes recycling drive from October 10 to 21, 2022. Everyone, from teachers, parents, and students, did their best to cooperate, with 109 people participating. In the spirit of “cherishing things and blessings,” families donated their unwanted clothes and shoes to give them a second life when people in need in the community received them. The drive seamlessly combined charity with environmental protection through recycling second-hand yet still valuable goods.
“Hi! Ho! One, two, three!” On the morning of October 24, with vigorous voices, over a dozen parents assisted by their children worked hard to carry the 250 bags of donated clothing and shoes collected from students’ homes to the curb an hour before a truck arrived at Tzu Chi Elementary School. The vehicle would deliver them to a charity distribution site where families in need could select what they require. By using second-hand items, the care recipients would also be helping to protect the environment, thus expressing love for Earth.
Tiffany, the mother of Tzu Chi Elementary School student Ziqian Shao, shared, “Today we’re participating by donating our clothes to help people in need. I think this is a very good activity that can help a lot of people.” Tzu Chi primary schools seize every opportunity to nurture children’s character and foster a wholesome approach to life. Through this recycling activity, teachers and parents taught students the value of appreciating and caring for things, which is part of Tzu Chi’s philosophy: Donated goods are resources rather than trash.
The initiative equally cultivated a giving and sharing mentality. Through experience, the children could gain a firsthand understanding of Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s teaching that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” The adults also guided the kids to gently place the donated items into the collection bins with mindful intent and care instead of harshly or casually.
With love and kindhearted motivation, the participants in this Tzu Chi Elementary School recycling project loaded 250 bags of clothes and shoes onto the delivery truck on October 24 for transport to where families in need could receive them, along with the blessings of everyone involved in this charity and environmental protection venture.
Tzu Chi Education Foundation’s mission is to advance a global humanistic culture, which it does through schools and programs that balance developing the mind and opening the heart.