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Help Heal Maui | 3:05

At 80, Answering the Call to Action

September 29, 2023


Disaster Relief

For many people who witness a disaster from afar, the urge to do something can be strong. Yet, for Hawaii-based Tzu Chi volunteer Helen Tseng, seeing wildfires erupt closeby on Maui was a chance to put that feeling into motion.

“In the 80 plus years of my life, I’ve never seen such a shocking disaster,” she recalls; “I told my husband, ‘As Hawaii volunteers, we’ve got to do something about this.’” Determined, she managed to raise nearly $20,000. But, for Helen, it was only the beginning.

Flying over to Maui, she joined her fellow Tzu Chi volunteers as they hosted distributions to give displaced survivors emergency financial aid in the form of cash cards. The day she joined, she spent 20 hours out, including her flights, setup at the venue, volunteering during distribution, and returning home.

Of the long day’s work, Helen was in excellent spirits. For those who aren’t sure they can bring the same energy, she encouraged people to trust themselves: “do what you like; you’ve got that invisible stamina.”

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Director: Ting Fan
DP: Michael Mazur
Editor: Ting Fan


grief , Disaster Relief , survival , Volunteering , Hero , Charity , heroism , Wildfire , Tzu Chi USA , Engaged Buddhism , Fundraiser , Volunteerism , disaster response , hawaii , maui , lahaina , buddhism in action , nonprofit organization , trauma

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