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Volunteers carrying relief supplies in logistic depots

Volunteer-based localization in Amity’s flood relief response

On July 23, Liu Hongpeng, the founder of Tongxinyuan social service center located in Hebi City, and his colleagues joined the Amity Foundation’s Henan flood relief response. Several villages near the city were flooded since last June. In this article, Liu reflects on the collaboration among local organizations, their volunteers, and Amity, and how a localized response benefits all the stakeholders.

“They fully understood how busy the staff at the front line is, so they rarely put any pressure on us. But on the other hand, they were always ready to offer support. The team members from Amity Foundation are all warm-hearted. They care for those in need and are efficient in what they are doing. After receiving all the information from me and assessing the different needs under different circumstances, the Amity team members immediately arranged the shipment and transportation of supplies. During that time, their support met the immediate needs of the villagers after that horrible disaster,” explains Mr Liu about working with Amity.

Liu and volunteers standing in front of relief boxes

Liu Hongpeng (second from left) brought a number of generators, emergency lighting equipment, instant noodles and other supplies to Huangzhuang Village in Xun County.

After having a good first impression of working with Amity, Liu Hongpeng worked closely with Amity staff at the supply transit depot once it started to operate. Through the transfer station, the Amity Foundation cooperated with local social organizations, organizing disaster relief logistics timely and efficiently. Liu believed that this model of cooperation was sustainable and effective “We are familiar with the local circumstances, and we can take the responsibility for assessing the needs and keeping close contact to all the stakeholders, while Amity is responsible for fundraising and procurement of supplies. Then we work together during the distribution and transportation process. Together we work perfectly in this way!

Liu appreciated in particular the spirit of Amity staff and volunteers at the transit depots. “They are particularly hard-working, and not delicate at all! The weather was extremely hot these days. Regardless, the Amity rescue team still participated in the loading of supplies, as well as the procurement of supplies, registration, transport, etc. They always worked so diligently, during the hot weather and covered with sweat like raindrops.” According to Liu Hongpeng, the Amity staff were not afraid of hardship and fatigue, inspiring the volunteers from other organizations. “Volunteers did not know each other, but in the transit depots, we all worked together just like strings twisted into a strong rope.”

Truck which transports Amity relief supplies with encouraging messages written by kids on it

At the transit station, Liu Hongpeng met a couple from Shandong province. They were very busy volunteering there for nine whole days. During the days, the husband drove to the countryside to deliver supplies and the wife helped to carry relief supplies along the way. A child wrote down on the front of their car said the sentence: “I wish the driver a safe journey”.

‘Pragmatism’ is another word that Liu Hongpeng mentions describing Amity. “I’ve come across many public welfare organizations, but it’s rare to find one as effective and pragmatic as Amity! Sometimes Amity set up distribution points at a village, resettlement site or the rescue team distributed the supplies directly. In this way, villagers could receive the supplies as soon as possible. I think this way is quite good because the disaster struck suddenly, and we were not prepared beforehand. With complex traffic conditions, we had to deliver large amounts of supplies within the limited distribution time.”

Liu Hongpeng believes that the adjustment of working approaches did not only ensure the efficiency of the distribution of supplies, but also enhanced the collective decision-making and self-management capabilities of villages and communities. “These methods actually reveal that Amity members indeed care about the feelings of the people in need.“

“I also have met some unprofessional charity organizations before, which often disregard the actual situation during project implementation. Their only intention is to take photos and post them online. They did help us with the loading and unloading of supplies, transportation, etc. But they only took them to pose for pictures. But Amity staff has never done this during the whole process. They never intentionally told people where these supplies were from, but only shoot a few times during the project implementation without affecting others.”

Liu Hongpeng has been committed to public welfare for more than 10 years. He has won awards and honors due to his commitment to public welfare. However, dealing with the sudden flood at the doorstep, Liu still found himself a little unprepared. “Fortunately, we could cooperate with the Amity Foundation, which has inspired us in terms of our own working philosophy, methods and details. Thank you, Amity! Later, I also checked the website of Amity Foundation, learning that Amity has been working in many fields of public welfare for years. I hope there will be more opportunities in the future to work together with Amity.” said Liu Hongpeng with great expectation.