May 23, 2022
Tzu Chi volunteers celebrate beneficiary's 100th birthday
By Ben Baquilod
On May 19, Tzu Chi volunteers paid a visit to long-time beneficiary Socorro Bello to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Volunteers surprised the centenarian with a bag of groceries, rice, cash allowance, and birthday cake. They sang her the happy birthday song, which made Socorro tear up in joy. “I am very happy that you visited me. You brought a lot of gifts for me. Thank you very much,” says Socorro to Tzu Chi.
Socorro has been a Tzu Chi beneficiary for 12 years since 2010. She receives Php 3,000 monthly living allowance and underwent an eye cataract surgery at the Tzu Chi Eye Center in October 2016. “When my eyes could no longer see properly, nobody helped me but you. I am really thankful that you didn’t forget me,” she says.
Touched by Tzu Chi’s gesture of love, she expressed the same feeling of warmth and gratitude: “I love you, and you also love me. I will never forget you.”
The centenarian used to be a newspaper vendor, was never married and doesn’t have an immediate family. She is now being taken care of a distant relative, Jean Domingo.
“Tzu Chi is such a big help to her,” says Jean. “She’s very happy because she didn’t expect that you will come. You are the only ones who gave her a birthday cake,” she cheers. “I am very thankful to Tzu Chi for the good things that you do. You help many people, including those affected by typhoons and calamities,” she adds.
Volunteer Ophelia Sy was excited to celebrate Socorro’s special day. “It’s my first time to see a 100 years old person face-to-face. All of us who are here today are very happy,” she says.
Tzu Chi will help Socorro move to her home province in Labo, Bicol as the centenarian wished. “The air there is cleaner and the environment is healthier. She will also be with her relatives so she will be happier,” she says.