On Sunday, 28th November 2021, Tzu Chi Edinburgh led off the first round of winter distribution this year. A small group of 6 volunteers offered their weekend to put a smile on someone’s face by giving winter care packages filled with warm blankets and thermal clothing to the homeless. Volunteer Cheen joined Tzu Chi Edinburgh in 2018 and shared her reflections and thoughts:
"What is the Value of Life? During difficult times, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed or
drained by life, but one simple practice of gratitude can help to alleviate negative feelings, making us happier and keeping us grounded."
"Waking up on a cold Sunday morning to the beautiful sight of white snow on the ground, I am very fortunate and grateful to have a heated shelter, comfy bed, and clothes to keep my family warm. In a flick of seconds, my thoughts wandered to our most anticipated year-end winter distribution packs to the homeless people on the street. It is an opportunity to get to know and meet other volunteers as well as give back to our local community while living in a foreign land. Intuitively, we conquered the cold winter days wrapped up with cosy layers of clothing, and face masks became the “new normal” for all of us before leaving the house in 2020, as a reminder of the existence of coronavirus."
"Memories of an eerie quiet city of Edinburgh in 2020 were quickly replaced with Christmas shoppers packing the pavements, filling every nook and cranny of the big and tiny street of the famous Princes Street, the sight of homeless people became elusive. I remembered my first brief exchange with homeless people, feeling awkwardly unsure and slightly hesitant to approach and offer our care and support packs to them. Gradually, I learned by watching others, and gentle guidance from the attentiveness and diligence of other Tzu Chi volunteers has given me the support and confidence much needed to defy doubts, ignorance, and odd feelings."
"Up close with the homeless people, I respectfully and gently placed the winter care pack onto their hands. They looked at me like an unexpected warm breath of summer wind in the
bleak winter months. They gestured a nod of thanks as they looked at us, crafting the most beautiful smile I’ve ever since, only aged by loneliness and cold. I felt content, stressless, and blessed. Thus, doing good is indeed practicing giving, an indispensable part of our practice of the Six Paramitas."
"My sincere gratitude to these courageously beautiful people who have braved the loneliness and cold, sleeping on rough floors, for giving us the opportunity to provide a simple Christmas gift. Lastly, I sincerely appreciate Sister Li-nan and other volunteers for their selfless giving, time, and dedication to making the impossible possible. Gan En, much gratitude.”
Edited by Cheen Y Lee, Hsin-Ling Liang