PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation has been busy over the past months donating "Love Rice" and hampers containing grocery essentials to a number of organizations and institutions around the island as it continues its efforts to ease the burden on households in the community.
The donations were ramped up late last year and continued into this year with some eight St. Maarten and St. Martin-based organizations receiving relief items. Additionally, the foundation’s volunteers also went home to home and directly delivered packages to a number of seniors, who were grateful to Tzu Chi for their monthly visits and for the special packages that they received before the holidays. A total of eight volunteers including four Tzu Chi Commissioners assisted in the door-to-door exercise.
The donations began at the Bethany Seniors Home in French St. Martin, which received 30 food packages to help its elderly citizens. A total of six volunteers including three commissioners participated in this activity.
Prior to presenting the donations, volunteers performed a song through sign language and interacted with seniors of the home. One volunteer, who is aged 75 gave an insight into the joys of being a volunteer at her age. She said instead of staying home, she found herself being very productive in helping others via Tzu Chi. Her sharing inspired everyone at the Bethany Home.
Cay Hill Church of God
Passionate about including every facet of society in its relief efforts, the foundation’s volunteers then moved over to The Church of God in Cay Hill where 140 relief food items were donated to be further donated to church members in need. Donated were 35 bags of 10kg “Love Rice,” which is produced by the blessed hands of Tzu Chi volunteers in Taiwan, 35 bags of red beans, 35 bottles of oil, and 35 packages of cornmeal. The donation was expected to assist some 10 families.
Tzu Chi Commissioner Yamile Bastidas along with three volunteers-in-training assisted Pastor Masson in further distribute the relief items to the 35 families. The volunteers-in-training were learning intensively and giving their humble bow to each recipient family.
Bastidas was happy to see the result of the distribution. She educated volunteers on the significance of Tzu Chi’s “4 spirituality soup,” indicating that each word represents an item when offering. Tzu Chi’s four spirituality soup teaches that “an understanding, grateful and accommodative person is naturally a contented person. He can be happy even leading a simple life.”
Bastidas reminded that “our hearts must practice contentment, gratitude, understanding, and accommodation through our hands.”
Church of God leader, Pastor Masson was grateful for the items received from the ten participating volunteers, which included four from the Tzu Chi Foundation, one of whom is a Commissioner and six church members, who rolled up their sleeves to assist.
A total of seven volunteers put their hands together and delivered 195, 10kg bags of Love Rice to the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF), which runs the St. Martin’s Home and the Sister Basilia Center for intellectually challenged children. The packages contained food items that could have been used by the foundation’s kitchen staff to help prepare meals for their clients. Volunteers expressed appreciation to the foundation’s staffers for the care and love they give to seniors and the disabled children in their care. Staffers were touched by the gesture and appreciated the recognition of their hard work.
The Community Outreach Mentorship and Empowerment Foundation (COME) Center was also a recipient. The Center received 45, 10kg bags of Love Rice, 20 of which were to be donated to underprivileged families and 25 to be used by the Center to cook for the needy. The Center operates a soup kitchen to feed families in need and senior citizens. A total of five volunteers participated in the COME Center donation.
A total of eight volunteers headed to the Point Blanche area to donate 150 bags of Love Rice to the Pointe Blanche Prison. The rice was for distribution to the families of inmates as well as for the prison’s kitchen. Five volunteers participated in this donation.
On a separate occasion, seven volunteers, two of whom were commissioners, presented 139 food packages for the 85 inmates at the Point Blanche Prison; 12 inmates at the Philipsburg Police Station, and 12 inmates at the Miss Lalie Youth Care and Rehabilitation Center in Cay Bay.
The packages contained the five language Jingsi aphorisms, shampoo, bath soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, cup, comb, bowl, cup noodles soup, Club Social, mixed nuts, chocolate and juice. Additionally, 30 food packages were also donated to prison officers.
The Hyacinth Richardson Educational Awareness Foundation (HREAF) received 115 bags of Love Rice, which it was able to further donate to less fortunate families in the St Peters and surrounding areas dring an event it held at the Center. Four volunteers, including two commissioners assisted with the donation.
Hope Estate Recreational Center
Two years after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Recreational Center in Hope Estate reopened to seniors several weeks ago. This meant that the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation was able to donate much needed items to the Center. Donated earlier this year were 50 bags of Love Rice, oil, and cornmeal. The items were for 50 underprivileged elderly residents. Volunteers were grateful to have the opportunity to support the Center again.
Key to Freedom
Seven packages containing the five language Jingsi aphorisms, shampoo, bath soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, cup, comb, bowl, cup noodles soup, Club Social, mixed nuts, chocolate and juice, were presented to Key to Freedom Foundation last month. The items were for the seven clients at the foundation.
Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung is grateful to all the volunteers who participated in the various donation exercises and to the recipients for graciously accepting the donations.