The 23rd New Life Family Walkathon in the United States

The 23rd New Life Family Walkathon in the United States

Giving Hope to 7 Billion People With a Smile and a Loving Heart!

That was the slogan for the relay of walkathons hosted by the International WeLoveU Foundation in Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea and now here in the United States. The New Life Family Walkathon that Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah has organized annually for the past two decades in Seoul is now taking place in multiple countries around the world. Each one bearing the same purpose in mind: to console those seriously affected by the devastating climate disasters in Mozambique.

Earlier this year, two cyclones—Idai and Kenneth—slammed the country in Southern Africa back to back, leaving it to put itself back together during this humanitarian crisis. It’s reported that subsequent flooding destroyed $1 billion of infrastructure. On top of the country’s fragile framework and people’s lives turned upside down, animals are also suffering as a result of these disasters.

>> What happened in Mozambique?

Saddened by the news of climate disaster, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah dedicated the 23rd New Life Family Walkathon in the United States to help those in Mozambique. Together, our steps can translate to love, life, and harmony to those undergoing present difficulties.

We Are Here for You, Mozambique!

On the bright morning of Sunday, July 28, 2019, approximately 2,500 participants checked in, ready to walk! Activity booths with interactive and fun games made it easy for everyone to learn about the 17 Global Goals including a WeLoveU original comic about how to implement the SDGs in daily lives. In addition to supporting Mozambique, WeLoveU launched the #AIMfortheGoals campaign to raise awareness about the SDGs that were established to protect our planet.  

Before the opening address, there was time for a couple of performances by the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers. There were two dance pieces: one dedicated to Mozambique and another one fostering camaraderie to take care of our world together. The last performance was the WeLoveU theme song.

A Special Spotlight on Our Speakers

Right when the guest speakers took the stage, everyone was in for a special surprise visit by U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 10th congressional district—Donald Payne Jr. Given the Congressman’s tight schedule before the August recess, everyone from the President of WeLoveU to the guest speakers and all 2,500 guests were honored to have an opportunity to hear from the U.S. Representative. Not to mention, Liberty State Park in Jersey City where this year’s walkathon was held is included in Congressman Donald Payne Jr.’s district!

The President of the WeLoveU Foundation then took to the podium after Congressman Donald Payne Jr.’s surprise visit. His introductory message reminded all participants of Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah’s message that we are one family living in a big home called ‘Earth.’ 

Therefore, as a global family, we must encourage and serve one another with the heart of a mother. This was the perfect introduction for the Ambassador of Mozambique Carlos Dos Santos followed by UN DGC Representative Felipe Queipo. 

“It’s a sense of joy and appreciation for the kind of solidarity to say, ‘Mozambique and Mozambicans, you are far away, but we are with you. We want to support you; we want to help you.'” – Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos

The next following speakers that the WeLoveU Foundation had a privilege to have speak at the 23rd New Life Family Walkathon was Climate Reality Project Leader Tim Guinee, and Lindsey Prowse from the French-American Chamber of Commerce. The more each speaker presented about the effects of climate change, the importance of an individuals role in tackling it, and so on, the moral of the volunteers were heightened as they anticipated to walk for such a meaningful cause.

One, Two, Three—Let’s Walk!

By the early afternoon, all 2,500 participants comprised of family, friends and local officials met at the starting line. On the count of three, everyone began taking their steps one by one in support of Mozambique.

To stay hydrated all-day long, all who registered received a glass water bottle. A water sponsor provided free water for volunteers to refill their bottles frequently without using plastic bottles. Reducing plastic use is good for us and our planet. In addition, a majority—if not all—carpooled for this event. Having fewer cars on the road means carbon emissions are reduced and our air quality improves.

 It was a pleasant afternoon across from the New York City skyline. Families and friends had opportunities to catch up and talk together while participating in a wonderful cause. Through the volunteers efforts, WeLoveU hopes those in Mozambique can feel refreshed and comforted knowing there are people supporting them from across the globe.


WeLoveU Volunteers Provide Aid and Relief to Little Falls Flood Victims

WeLoveU Volunteers Provide Aid and Relief to Little Falls Flood Victims

The Situation

On Saturday, August 11, 2018, a heavy rainstorm slammed New Jersey. In less than an hour, five inches of rain came down quickly. One town in particular in the Garden State—Little Falls—experienced flooding not seen since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. As a result, water overflowed in one isolated area of town. The banks along the Peckman River were unable to contain it. Streets were deluged and even the first floors of homes were swallowed up. Residents had little to no time to prepare and were caught off guard. Suddenly, three to four feet of water flooded streets and homes very quickly. Cars were swept away and people were trapped in their homes without electricity.

It was a catastrophe because the flooded area is not considered a flood zone. Consequently, many homeowners were never obliged to get flood insurance because of it. The aftermath is a disheartening scene and will be forever remembered by those who were affected. The recovery process may be challenging and at times draining. The residents will certainly need support and that’s when WeLoveU decided to get involved.

Volunteers in Blue

On two consecutive Sunday’s, August 19 and 26,  250 WeLoveU volunteers collectively assembled in Little Falls, New Jersey. At a time when residents were seeking much-needed aid, WeLoveU stepped in to help as much as possible. Homeowners needed assistance with many things. For instance, from demolition and debris removal to cleaning-off household goods and lifting damaged furniture.

The Office of Emergency Management Coordinator—Sgt. Dan Gianduso—provided WeLoveU with a list of houses requesting help. The volunteers divided into smaller teams, walking to assigned homes with supplies. While walking, volunteers witnessed first-hand the damage caused by the rainstorm. 

The extent of the damage was surreal. Just a few blocks away, it appeared as if nothing happened, yet another few blocks away there was complete devastation. They worked from the morning until the last set of volunteers returned to the meeting tent around 5 p.m. So, in eight and a half hours, the group managed to help 24 out of 30 affected homes. All households were incredibly thankful for the work provided by the WeLoveU volunteers.

“We appreciate all the help that your organization has done for us, because without you all this would not have gotten done today, thank you all so much,” said Diana, a Little Falls resident.

Mayor James Damiano came to greet the volunteers providing disaster relief. He said, “It’s because of all your help and all of these blue shirts around me, that these many hands make light work. I want to thank every single one of them for everything that they’ve done today because the residents were really touched by all of the help.”

In addition to providing disaster relief, WeLoveU volunteers donated 45 boxes of blankets and socks for children and adults. The donated items were later distributed to residents in the Little Falls Civic Center.

The Outcome and WeLoveU’s Mission

WeLoveU’s support is only the first step for families rebuilding and recovering. Despite the long road ahead, WeLoveU hopes they relieved even some burden from the homeowner’s shoulders. The victims of this disastrous event needed not only working hands but also comfort, sympathy and love.

Short after this relief effort, the city of Little Falls invited WeLoveU to their Town Hall Meeting on Monday, August 27, 2018. The Mayor and Council along with the community expressed their deep appreciation for the efforts of the WeLoveU volunteers. With gratitude to WeLoveU and the volunteers that helped, Mayor James Damiano said:

“I know that the residents of Little Falls are deeply touched and forever are affected in a positive way by what you’ve done for them. The amount of work that your organization put in, in just two short days over the past two weekends, would’ve taken these individuals (the leaders in Little Falls) hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours to do. Because the combined man-hour time that you had here, and the number of hands that you had working, it would have been impossible for these people to have done what they’ve done to this point, but for your help.”

The International WeLoveU Foundation strives to deliver the unconditional love of a mother to the entire world. In hope of uniting the global village and nourishing the well-being of mankind, this initiative is just one of several leading actions that help accomplish this.

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