Offering congee at Beijing CBD

From:Chinese philanthropists     Author:Chinese philanthropists     Time:2016-04-28 17:36:49
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The clock has just struck 7 in the morning and a group of 30 volunteers appeared at Jintaixizhao Metro Station, with them a congee cart and two barrels of steaming hot congee. The Beijing CBD is located here, with many office buildings along the road sides.

The clock has just struck 7 in the morning and a group of 30 volunteers appeared at Jintaixizhao Metro Station, with them a congee cart and two barrels of steaming hot congee. The Beijing CBD is located here, with many office buildings along the road sides.

They pulled up a striking banner “Offering Congee from Heart,” quickly dressed up in their orange aprons, and scattered to various road intersections. “Good morning, would you like to have a cup of congee from heart? Ren Ai wish you a good day!” The team greeted each one coming out from the exit with a soft tone and smile.

At this moment, at Beijing Honglian neighborhood, Lushan in Ya’an, Tianjin etc., in the air of 25 soup kitchens in 16 cities floats the steam of congee at the same time. According to a statistics by Beijing Ren Ai Charity Foundation, over 250,000 volunteers served over 4 million cups of congee in the past 7 years.

Behind the story of a cup of congee is the awaking of love and trust.

To serve congee from heart to pedestrians has met many criticisms. The supervisor of the Foundation, Ven. Master Xuecheng explains: “Both material and spiritual assistance are needed, and the two don’t conflict with each other. To give people fish and teach them how to fish have different stands and points. We shouldn’t look at them as opponents or in a narrow sense. There is more of just offering a cup of congee: it is for awakening the love and trust from deep within and also continuously igniting the goodness of our hearts. It is a very good thing.”

“The target of benevolence shouldn’t just include those materially deprived, but also those who are mentally at a loss, including ourselves. The experience and growth we’ve drown from the act of offering congee will determine the amount of light and strength that we can give.”

“At Beijing CBD, no one is in real lack of a cup of congee!” Volunteer Wu Lanying smilingly looked at the crowds passing by Jintaixizhao Metro Station and said, “What society really lacks is trust; congee from heart is just a carrier.”

In the second half of 2007, Master Xuecheng proposed to enlist offering congee as a charity project of the Foundation. It has been a tradition since ancient times, that during periods of disaster and famine, congee is offered as a means of charity to relieve those in need. Ren Ai Foundation revived such a traditional charity and added new meaning to it. The word “free” was never particularly emphasized along the way, according to volunteer Zhang Xiang, “We use the term ‘offering congee from our hands,’ and the gesture changed from palms facing downwards to facing upwards to show respect and humility. It’s a process of letting go of our ego.”

The majority of volunteers offering congee are those who were offered congee at first. And volunteers having participated in congee offering in Beijing even initiated the project in their own cities. “Why are there so many people willing to devote their time and energy to such a seemingly small thing?” Zhang Xiang said, “It must be that he has gained growth and happiness here.”

Li Xiuying is a retired worker of a textile factory. She was diagnosed as having cancer in 2009 and stayed in bed for a year. In 2011 she joined Chaowai Soup Kitchen and persisted in offering congee every day. After several years, she not only recovered from cancer, but miraculously, her black hair grew again. The Cancer Association has invited her for multiple of times to share her experience fighting cancer. She said, “When you truly care for others, your mood will get better, and your merits will accumulate.”

Besides offering congee, many volunteers spontaneously participated in other charity projects of Ren Ai Charity Foundation. Some joined the Ren Ai Donation for Education, to be a big caring Ren Ai friend for orphans; some gathered bags after bags of clean clothing for donation to poverty-stricken areas; each month, volunteers also joined the environmental public welfare activities organized by the Foundation.

“The soup kitchen is just a beginning. Bit by bit, it will affect more caring people to do more things.” Volunteer Zhang Xiang said.



Editor:Cherry
Tags:offering congee beijing cbd

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