Dharma Relief Project raises $500,000 for surgical masks

Published: Apr. 19, 2020 at 5:40 PM EDT
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Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

April 19, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Buddhists and meditation centers across the globe are coming together to help those fighting the coronavirus on the front lines.

The Dharma Relief Project is sending hundreds of thousands of surgical masks to hospitals nationwide. Founded by teacher Guo Gu at the Tallahassee Chan Center, the effort has raised more than $500,000.

The coronavirus crisis has forced doors of the center to temporarily close and meditation classes are going virtual.

"We're taking care of people's spiritual needs and emotional needs during this difficult time," Gu said. "But no one's really doing something concretely about what can be done, what should be done."

The teach was inspired to do more. At the end of March he founded the Dharam Relief Project. It's a coalition of Buddhists, centers, teachers and practitioners in the US partnering with organizations in China. The groups send surgical masks directly from Chinese manufacturers to American hospitals.

Within the first week of the project up and running, it raised more than $100,000.

"Compassion and action is an integral part of the Buddha practice," Gu said. "So what I provide is basically a platform, it can't be done by one person alone. It's just a platform where everybody can funnel their energy and resources and skills."

So far about 300,000 masks have been delivered, starting with coronavirus hotspots, like in Louisiana.

The organization says right now they've capped donations at the $500,000 mark. They say Capital Regional Medical Center and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital are expected to receive some this week.

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