Buddha’s Light Shines Warmly Upon Women & Children Displaced by Fire in LA County Shelter Home

After flames engulfed the first floor of Lydia House, a shelter home supported by Long Beach Rescue Mission for women and children who have already faced extreme difficulties in their past were forced to evacuate—nearly 50—on December 22, 2023. The Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) Long Beach Subchapter, together with the Hacienda Heights Improvement Association (HHIA), Hacienda Heights Women's Club, and Safer Hacienda Heights united in a common cause, on the morning of January 21, 2024, outside Hsi Lai Center, to bring hope and warmth back into the lives touched by tragedy. With compassionate-filled hearts, monastics and BLIA members from Hsi Lai Temple, and community members responded to the donation drive. Within five hours, over 1,000 packages of precious goods were collected—enough to fill two trucks!

The fire not only took away a safe refuge for many, but the first floor also served as a warehouse for necessities and supplies, exacerbating the challenging situation even more. Gifts of clothing, blankets, hygiene products, toys, and books were donated and far exceeded the needs of the Long Beach Rescue Mission, bringing much-needed relief and joy to the displaced women and children. The surplus was distributed to the New Hope Rescue Center and other shelters, extending the impact of the generous donations.

HHIA board member Andrea Gordon expressed genuine admiration for all the generous donations; thanking Hsi Lai Temple for providing a convenient venue for the donation drive and praising the BLIA Los Angeles Chapter and Long Beach Subchapter for all their hard work collecting, sorting, and delivering, not only material packages but also “hope” to numerous children and women.

(Photos by Jonathan Thang)