CUL DE SAC - The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation entertained, educated and spread loving cheer to more than 120 of its members, volunteers, their family members and other guests at its Lunar New Year’s and Valentine’s Day event on Sunday, February 15.
The event was held in an effort to thank the Foundation’s angels on earth (volunteers) for their volunteerism over the past calendar year and to pay homage to members, whose contributions help fuel the activities of the Foundation. Since it was held the day after Valentine’s Day, the Foundation also wanted to show the importance of love in the family unit and in the world.
The event opened with Tzu Chi volunteers and pupils from the All Children’s Education Foundation (ACE) delivering a lion dance performance for guests. This Lunar New Year is the year of the Sheep.
Volunteers also performed the “One Family” sign language song. The work of the Foundation over the past calendar year was also highlighted via a video presentation and elaboration from hosts. Tzu Chi was involved in numerous activities last year including helping several victims of devastating fires that occurred last year; assisting victims and a school following the passage of Hurricane Gonzalo and the devastating floods that followed days after and its regular contributions of monthly food supplies to underprivileged persons in the community.
Tzu Chi also held several fundraising activities and vegetarian food sales to raise funds for its Hope education mission to assist the ACE school; collaborated with several foundations such as the Diabetes Foundation and American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine for several projects and engaged in other activities of benefit to the community.
The Valentine’s aspect of the programme featured a “gratitude presentation” with husbands/partners presenting tokens of floral appreciation to their wives and sons to their mothers, on stage. Some partners also took the time to say why their spouses were special to them.
Attendees also enjoyed some fun “unity games” with the winners receiving prizes.
The highlight of the programme was the performance of “The Man with Four Wives” skit in which volunteers depicted through their performance, the importance of good karma and living one’s life in gratitude and with a giving heart.
A total of US $791.82 was collected in the bamboo bank return ceremony, in which volunteers and members returned their filled recycled bottle bamboo bank (donations bottles).
Volunteers, members and guests were also presented with a special Red Pocket gift from Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen and a gift from Tzu Chi. Each Red Pocket contained 50NT cents; three grains of rice, which were planted, cultivated an prepared from start to finish by Tzu Chi volunteers who are medical doctors and three vows: purified mind; harmonious society and free of disaster.
The curtains closed on the event with the 121 guests and 45 volunteers enjoying a vegetarian dinner prepared by the loving hands of volunteers and Cake House Supermarket.
At the end of the programme, many guests said they enjoyed the programme and were particularly enthused by the skit and the positive message it imparted on them. (St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation)