A community of Buddhists continues to spread hurricane help along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The group is an international organization that's given away millions of dollars following various disasters around the world.
They brought financial gifts and a lesson of love to Pass Christian Friday morning.
Hundreds of hurricane victims filled the Gospel Singer's Hall to receive a gift from visiting Buddhists. The Tzu Chi organization provides disaster relief around the world.
"They're very diligent in what they're doing. And we certainly do appreciate this," said Mayor Billy McDonald.
Buddhists in white ball caps greeted the crowd and handled the paperwork. Each of the volunteers pays their own travel and expenses to take part in the outreach.
"Where there is hope, there is a way," the group leader told the crowd.
"We had a mobile home here and a house in Gulfport. And we lost them both," Kimberly Smith explained.
That's why the Pass Christian woman was so grateful for the 100 dollar gift card. It will help with Thanksgiving.
"Oh it means a lot. Because when you have something one day and everything's gone the next, every little bit helps. It's a blessing for them to come out and help us like this," Smith said.
The irony is also evident: Buddhist relief in a Christian hall. Love crosses cultures and religious boundaries.
"Teaches us we are all in one family. And we are all brothers and sisters. And love is the answer," said Buddhist spokewoman, Lou Kua.
The show of love is much appreciated by Tracy Smith, who weathered the storm okay but lost her job.
"It let's us know that there's a lot of good people out there. And nobody's forgot about us," she said.
It doesn't matter that the good people belong to a group that's half a world away.
The Tzu Chi Buddhists have distributed more than three million dollars in aid to victims of Katrina. Last month, they passed out more than 200 thousand dollars to storm victims in Biloxi.