Welfare Committee of Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Welfare Committee of Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Early in 1951, Los Angeles Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) had already established the Welfare Organization, headed by fve (5) CCBA council members, in care of all overseas Chinese welfare and business matters. This included Chinese School business and affairs, Fudi Cemetery, etc. Until 1974, due to the increase of overseas Chinese immigrants, the need for welfare benefts also intensifed. At the beginning, the welfare work under CCBA was a separate function from the Chinese School work and Fudi Cemetery work. It was later changed from organization to committee, so that all three (3) organizations merged, collaborated and expanded under CCBA till today.

The Welfare Committee assisted CCBA by conducting and striving for all overseas Chinese welfare benefts and affairs, thereby representing CCBA on many outside functions and activities. The Welfare Committee internal organization had many changes and expansion. It has its own detailed rules and regulations. Nowadays, it has twenty one (21) committee members. During the election of CCBA President/Chairman at end of each year, there will be fourteen (14) elected council members and seven (7) elected directors, all forming the Welfare Committee with a one year term. From the 21 elected members, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Chinese and English secretary, and other staff positions will be voted in. Works are all voluntary. Person in charge for the Welfare Committee will provide report during every CCBA council meeting.

When retired, Welfare Committee Chairman can become advisor. Past Welfare Committee Chairmen are When retired, Welfare Committee Chairman can become advisor. Past Welfare Committee Chairmen are Di Pei Zhao, Shou Kang Chen’s wife Wei Wen Lin, Wei Lin Huang, Tian Shu Chen, Yin Pu Lin, Bing Quan Deng , Edwin Mah, Guang Ze wu, Yi Ming Si Tu, Yong Le Quan. Zhang Hua Zhu, Chao Hua Li, Wei Lin Huang, Xi Chao Li, Pedro Chan, Hayward Ng, Derek Ma, C K Woo, Syh-Shiuon Chou, Jimmy Lee, and Kwok Chi Lau.

After the establishment of CCBA, all levels of China and foreign governments have been using CCBA as the main target to contact the Chinese community. The Welfare Committee takes care of the negotiation for the Chinese welfare and beneft. Past most note-worthy mentioning in record book, is the 1975 Vietnam refugees settlement task handled by CCBA. After the end of US/Vietnam war, the US State Department settled 175,000 Vietnam refugees in the US. The majority of these refugees were Chinese. At that time, CCBA President Guo Yu Huang, Vice President Ru ZhuoZhang, Welfare Committee Chairman Tian Shu Chen, Vice Chairman Yin Pu Lin, were responsible handling that matter. The Vietnam refugees arrived in the US and settled at the Camp Pendleton.

CCBA received invitation from the US State Department refugees camp leadership, and with support from the Los Angeles Chinese Associations, it registered under the US State Department as “Vietnam Difculties Working Committee of the Chinese Association of Luo Province, also known as the National Committee of the Chinese Federation of the Luo Province”. CCBA put forth volunteers to handle that matter, including Guo Ru Huang and Ru Zhuo Zhang being appointed as the refugee camp advisors, and Tian Shu Chen as the leader. Both Tian Shu Chen and Ru Zhuo Zhang put forth the most effort for such volunteer work. There were 30 volunteers working inside the refugee camp, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 4 consecutive months, until all refugees were settled. CCBA were responsible handling 280 refugees.

Other than that, Tian Shu Chen went to work at another refugee camp, Camp Indian-Town Gap, in Pennsylvania at his own expense. He processed another 150 refugees for demobilization and secured jobs for them. The hard work put together by the National Committee of the Chinese Federation of the Luo Province and its outstanding results received commendation from the government. The most remarkable event would have been the public expense from the US government supposedly given to the CCBA, instead ended up to be distributed to each refugee for $500 each. This generous act by CCBA made the US State Department so proud. Such honorable work for Vietnam refugee settlement was proudly recorded within the US history. Several important contributors, such as Guo Yu Huang, Ru Zhuo Zhang and Tian Shu Chen as well as the Welfare Committee of CCBA, received award from the US State Department.

In 1970, CCBA president requested funding from the City for Chinatown Service Center. In 1971, the newly-established Chinatown Service Center, led by Mrs. Joyce Law and Cheng Wei Liu, was using the second floor of the Methodist Church as the office. At the time the funding was insufcient, so half the workers were volunteers with no pay. Later with the help of two Chinatown city council members, more funding was requested. CCBA and Welfare Committee also applied successfully for non-proft organization, thus making the Chinatown Service Center an independent entity.

In 1975, Chinatown Service Center received additional funding with the hard work by Guo Ru Huang and Tian Shu Chen. This funding increase than occurred every year after. Fully commending the outstanding works from past administrative directors Joyce Law, Irene Chu, Debbie Ching, Diane Poon, Lawrence Lue, Karen Blakeney, and our present Executive Director, Peter Ng.

From 1970 to 1971, Chinatown elderly organization was divided into 4 clubs, the Senior Association (also known as Yingying Association) created by Yin Pu Lin, the Respect for Elderly Club created by Yang Lin Zhou, the Yi Zhuang Club created by Li Teng Ou, and the Golden Age Club (also known as Jinling Hui) created by Yu Qing Wu. There were many elderlies in Chinatown. With all 4 clubs applying for welfare funding, the effort was divided. It was twice the effort for half the result. In 1971, the Welfare Committee established the Chinatown Senior Association, but the divided elderly organization could not work together, rendering this Chinatown Senior Association useless.

In 1972, Los Angeles County appointed Welfare Committee Tian Shu Chen and Yin Pu Lin as the Los Angeles County Elderly Committee, with term of ofce being 3 years. During that time, the 2 appointees explored every welfare beneft from the Federal government, the County government and the City government, and recounted to the elderly clubs and Chinatown Senior Association. This provided great assistance to those who were applying for welfare. As more Chinese elderly increased, there was a need to obtain a building for the elderly. With the united effort from 4 elderly clubs, the Elderly Nutrition club and Youth Counseling Committee, a land parcel was purchased on the westside of Sunset Blvd. At the same time, the Guotai Building site location, which belonged to the City as public land, could be considered as building site. One representative from each of the abovementioned association, club and committee, and one representative from CCBA appointed Welfare Committee, Li Teng Ou as the President to lead this building acquisition task. The process involved city approval, sponsorship, negotiation, and council member help. Because of public land and used public funds, this building legally would have no limitation to age, sex, ethnicity and religion. However, being situated in Chinatown, most applicants would have been Chinese. The construction of this building was completed in 1984, named as Luohua Huaying Center Guotai Building. This building was pretty much catered to the Chinese elderly. The Chinatown Service Center, the Elderly Nutrition club, the Youth Counseling Committee also situated within the building, benefted greatly to the Chinese community.

In 1971, the Chinese Elderly Committee was formed by by Yang Lin Zhou, Nai Ming Zhen, Yin Pu Lin, Li Teng Ou, Yu Xi Wu and other business organizations. With Chinese elderly retired and felt lonesome, they applied and received the establishment of Nutrition club in October 1973. As this Nutrition Club got busy, they applied and established the Chinatown Senior Citizen Service Center in 1976. The Nutrition Club service was managed by the Chinatown Senior Citizen Service Center

From 1973 to 1977, the Welfare Committee concerned about the youths doing nothing in the summer vacation, so they applied funding through the Los Angeles City and received the approval to conduct a summer vacation youth vocational training program. First year enrolled 40 youths, working in Chinatown for 8 weeks, with 4 hours per day at the minimum wage. At a later time, the enrollment was overwhelmingly large, therefore the applicants must be screened and selected to meet certain requirements, such as work endurance and belong to low income family. Once approved, the Welfare Committee would provide training in accordance to the city rules and regulations. Work tasks were considered relax, such as Chinatown street cleaning, removing grafti off the walls, assist and prepare meals for elderly, always with safety as the top priority. The vocational trainers worked hard, hence reflecting good results. From the second year and on, the enrollment was allowed to increase to 100. City council members made number of on-site observations at Chinatown and were satisfed and happy with the results.

Due to popular and widespread use of computer technology in the 1990’s, Welfare Committee Zi Sheng Chen (later became CCBA President) provided computer training at his own expense. It included classes in computer logic, system and experiment. This promoted Chinese youths learning and could provide them special skill. The training classes were held at the Chinese School and the Overseas Chinese Culture and Education First Service Center. The limited equipment could not expand the enrollment, but still more than 200 youths completed this course.

Besides paying attention to the Chinese rights and welfare benefts, the Welfare Committee also concerned about natural disasters, which badly affected the society. In 1994, Los Angeles Northridge earthquake prompted CCBA President Derek Ma and Welfare Committee members paid visit to the Red Cross site at Santa Fe, where the disaster victims were. In addition, a donation of $11,000 was provided to the victims.

In recent years, Welfare Committee continued to strive for community focus, especially related to the Chinese rights and benefts. One good example is the Los Angeles Health Department’s lack of knowledge and different perception on Chinese food culture. The standard method for proper food storage temperature and Chinese food cooking is quite different. This forced closure for some Chinese food businesses, thereby affecting their daily life. The Welfare Committee gradually communicated with the Chinese elected ofcials and the Health Department ofcials. They invited the Health Department ofcials to CCBA presenting various lectures, thereby permitting the Chinese food business/industry understand the laws, regulations and legislation requirements. At the same time, let them voiced their concerns about encountering difculties while at work. Finally, everyone agreed and understood on resolving this problem.

In addition, the Welfare Committee invited the US immigration ofcials and lawyers to present lectures on immigration. This promoted the understanding on the continuous ever changing immigration laws for new immigrants.

In 2018, Club President Jimmy Lee held many fnancial management lectures, helping the expatriates to understand how to manage credit. Also, he held lectures in education related to fnance insurance.

In 2019, Overseas Chinese Association President Kwok Chi Lau attempted to expand the scope of the overseas Chinese. A new book publication conference was held in February by Stanley Chao. Book’s content provides guidance to small enterprises, on how to march into the Chinese market. This defnitely helps those Chinese locals who are interested to start up a venture in China. It follows in March, Liu together with the Chinese Women’s New Life Movement Club, conducted corner walks and charity fundraising netted $2,000. Later, Liu went to Chinatown Service Center to assist the city residents for the CalFresh food vouchers.