CUL DE SAC - Tzu Chi Foundation St. Maarten has broadened its humanitarian efforts and has adopted six schools for a breakfast programme to provide students with fresh breakfast each morning.
The foundation has also donated much-needed packages with school supplies to 1,560 students.
A total of 2,825 students benefitted from the breakfast programme and the school supplies package donation thus far, which involved the efforts of 54 volunteers, who assisted in the process.
The breakfast programme began when school reopened on Monday, October 2, and will continue for one month. It is being done in an effort to help ensure that students have a fulfilling breakfast at the start of each day. The breakfast provided to the adopted schools will include freshly baked bread with cheese, peanut butter and/or jam.
The six schools adopted for the breakfast programme are St. Maarten Vocational Training School (SMVTS), St. Maarten Academy Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education (PSVE), the Academic section of St. Maarten Academy, Methodist Agogic Center-Comprehensive Secondary Education (MAC-CSE), MAC Reverend John A. Gumbs Campus, and the Charlotte Brookson Academy (CBA) for the Performance Arts, which is having temporary classes at University of St. Martin (USM) for now.
The Foundation has also helped students, some of whom lost their school materials during the passage of Hurricane Irma, get much needed items to continue their education. Each school supplies packages contained one clear file holder, three math exercise books, two exercise writing books, two exercise practice books, one ruler, one scotch tape, one documents folder, pens, toothbrush and two pencil set etc. The younger students each received packages containing regular pencils, colour pencils, colouring books, drawing books, eraser, craft and art book etc.
Students who received the stationary packages are from both sections of the St. Maarten Academy, SMVTS, Milton Peters College (MPC), MAC-CSE, MAC Reverend John A. Gumbs Campus, St. Joseph School, Sister Borgia School, and CBA.
The recipient schools were very grateful for the donations and for Tzu Chi’s assistance for the breakfast programme. “May you all be blessed - thank you for planting good seeds in these children’s lives,” Academy PSVE representative Amy Arrindell told Tzu Chi in a thank you message.
CBA Director Claudette Forsythe-Labega said when school resumed after hurricane Irma in its temporary location at USM, students were complaining that they were hungry and had nothing to eat. She approached Tzu Chi Foundation and the foundation agreed to provide breakfast for students. Forsythe-Labega said it broke her heart when students told her they were hungry and had nothing to eat, and she is happy that Tzu Chi has responded to the call to assist. “At least the students will start their day with something in their stomachs,” she said.
Tzu Chi Foundation Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the foundation is grateful for the opportunity to assist the island’s future both educationally and nutritionally and she wishes students and teachers throughout the island much success as they forge ahead with education under the sometimes-challenging circumstances left in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
PHOTO CUTLINE: St. Maarten Vocational Training School students gracefully accepts the school supplies packages from Tzu Chi volunteers.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Tzu Chi volunteers presenting students with their school supply packages.