Tzu Chi brings relief to 351 families with donation of food supplies
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Tzu Chi brings relief to 351 families with donation of food supplies

(photo's contributed) (photo's contributed)

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - Inclement weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation and its team of volunteers, who recently braved inclement weather along with Leaders for Change Foundation to ensure that hundreds of families had food in their kitchen when it donated essential food packages to the families recently.  

The donation was one of two major heartwarming donation events held recently, which left an indelible positive impact on both recipients and volunteers. The first donation was held on October 29, at the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation office on the L.B. Scott Road, where 220 families were graciously presented with food packages despite rainy weather conditions and the second event was held on November 1, at Aaron Jacobs Drive in Cay Bay under the theme “Cay Bay Poverty Relief Charity Mission,” where 131 families received food supplies.  

In total, the foundation donated 351 bags of 10kg “Love Rice;” 351 bottles of 1 litre cooking oil, 351 packs of dried red beans and 351 boxes of 28pk Stolle Milk Powder. The food packages were intended to alleviate the financial burden of families in meeting basic needs, ensuring that they have access to the sustenance they require.  

Cay Bay donation

A total of 26 volunteers, assisted by Community Police Officer Richard Sharon, participated in the Cay Bay Relief, where 131 10kg bags of Love Rice; 131 bottles of 1litre oil; 131 1lb bags of dried peas and 131 boxes (each containing 28 packs) of Stolle Milk powder were donated. 

Donation at Tzu Chi Foundation office

A total of 42 volunteers participated in the October 29, relief effort. These included 32 Tzu Chi volunteers, seven of whom were Commissioners and 10 supportive volunteers from the Leaders of Change group.  A total of 220 bags of 10kg “Love Rice,” 220, 1-liter bottles of cooking oil, 220, one pound packs of dried red beans and 220 boxes of 28 packs of Stolle Milk Powder were distributed to the 220 recipient families.

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said it was a great experience for participating volunteers and recipients. The relief event was originally scheduled to be held outdoors. Everything was set the day before the event, however showers of blessings poured down that day into the following day when the event was scheduled to be held forcing Tzu Chi to grapple on whether to cancel the event and in the end decided to proceed as many families were in dire need of the relief items. 

Recipients showed up in large numbers and the event proceeded smoothly despite the challenges associated with the downpours. Recipients were treated to drinks and snacks and information was shared on the teachings of Tzu Chi’s Founder Master Cheng Yen, who believes that everyone should be treated as one family. Cheung said Master Cheng Yen reminds us the world is not getting any bigger, but the population is growing sadly with more greed, more crime and more poverty leading to more suffering. These issues are partially the result of too few good people who exist. “If we can inspire people to do good, educate people to start saving a few coins daily to help others, things will change. The moment of giving creates joyfully hearts. It transforms a person’s life from a receiver to a giver. The giver receives the joy of giving and suffering will be reduced, at the same time the number of good persons will increase,” Cheung explained. 

Recipients were happy to have a chance to give by donating to help Tzu Chi continue its work, and very grateful to receive the food packages as well as learn about the teachings. “Our goals are that together we can reduce suffering and increase the number of good persons in our society,” said Cheung. 

Following the distribution, volunteers shared their experiences, and were grateful for the opportunity. Cheung was appreciative of all volunteers including those from Leaders for Change, for their efforts in making the event possible. Leaders for Change led by Founder Ashma Berkel, has collaborated with Tzu Chi for several events over the past two years. 

 Berkel said the overwhelming community support was a testament to the necessity of such initiatives in today’s challenging times. She said the information shared not only empowered families with essential resources, but also enlightened them about the principles and values that underpin the Tzu Chi Foundation’s humanitarian efforts. She said Tzu Chi Foundation and Leaders for Change pledge to stand by the community, ensuring that these monthly food parcel distributions continue to be a beacon of hope for those in need. 

Tzu Chi Foundation is a global non-profit organization with a mission to alleviate suffering, promote environmental sustainability, and provide relief to those in need. Founded on the principles of compassion and empathy, the organisation has a long-standing history of making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities worldwide.

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