SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - The St Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation helped spread some Easter cheer to 300 pupils from the kindergarten to grade 6 levels, at two primary schools in April, by donating Easter baskets to them and at one school, exposing them to vegetarian treats.
The first stop was at No Kidding With Our Kids Foundation in Sucker Garden on April 8. Two Tzu Chi Commissioners and five volunteers assisted during the event and distributed a total of 100 Easter packages to excited students.
The foundation was appreciative of the visit by Tzu Chi saying “it was an awesome afternoon.”
"In our programme, we have children from all layers of the society. We take care of them and offer them opportunities to grow and develop their skills and to become as independent as possible in the near future, “said Foundation Director Merlyn Schaminee, who added that agriculture, art and craft with recycling materials and dance classes are amongst the activities that children are engaged with at the foundation. “Every afternoon all enjoy a warm meal. For some, this is their only meal. Most of them need a lot of help with their homework. We are a home away from home for the children and are very thankful and grateful with Tzu Chi's assistance.”
Schaminee thanked Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen for the donations received including the donations of rice, which she said helps in guaranteeing a warm meal for each child at the foundation.
“The children enjoyed the afternoon and couldn't wait to dig into their Easter bag,” said Schaminee.
The next stop was at the St. Joseph School on Back Street on April 20, where six volunteers and one Tzu Chi Commissioner assisted in donating packages to 200 pupils, which included underprivileged school goers. Tzu Chi also used the occasion to let pupils experience vegetarian breakfast treats. A school representative was initially worried that the pupils would reject the vegetarian breakfast, but to the contrary, pupils enjoyed it very much and requested that Tzu Chi return.
The volunteers enjoyed participating in the initiative. One volunteer said it felt good doing something to give back and she was happy for the opportunity to serve. Another volunteer said it was her first time at the St. Joseph School and she was happy to see the smiles on the faces of the children. “It was a blessing,” she said.
Another volunteer said she was happy to see Tzu Chi teaching kids about healthy eating.
The schools were grateful for the visit and thanked Tzu Chi for the kind gesture. “Thank you for your time and dedication. We enjoyed it very much. It was very much appreciated,” said a St. Joseph School representative.
Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung thanked all the volunteers for sparing some of their valuable time to assist and the schools and pupils for being grateful recipients.