SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - A total of three thousand three hundred and ninety-six persons in need in Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin as well as 18 institutions received food packages from the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation as part of its emergency food relief recently.
Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases the foundation’s volunteers, at one point during the relief, went house to house to deliver the food packages, which contained rice, flour, oil, baking powder, dry peas, jam, peanut butter, toilet paper, Clorox and Club Social biscuits.
The emergency relief period ran from May 16, to Jul 30, 2021. A total of 240 volunteers participated in the exercise.
Volunteers were happy to be part of the relief. One volunteer in particular shared his story of overcoming bullying while attending a local high school and now uses his time productively to help others. The young man said his family lost their place of residence located in French St. Martin during the passing of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The family later relocated to the Dutch side in Sucker Garden. While attending school on the Dutch side, the young man said he was subjected to severe bullying to the point where he was considering suicide. After penning a suicide letter and giving it to one of his classmates, he received an intervention and counselling and now realizes that things do get better, life is worth living and there is a lot in store for him and his future. He is now happy to be using his time to help others as part of the Tzu Chi Foundation.
Recipients were also grateful for the assistance received. Helen Hunt from French St. Martin said it had been an honor to meet the Tzu Chi family and urged the foundation to keep up the good work it is doing in the community and to continue to show love and compassion because the world needs it.
Another recipient who said he went through a lot of trials and tribulations in life and had been taken advantage of a lot, was happy for the assistance received and urged Tzu Chi to continue its efforts.
One grateful recipient prayed after receiving her package thanking Tzu Chi and its volunteers for the assistance received in her native Spanish language.
Another recipient said Tzu Chi does not only provide assistance, it also challenges us to share with others. “Tzu Chi not is not only giving you a bag of food. There are so many other things that Tzu Chi does as a foundation. On the bag has the name of the foundation and we encourage you to go online and look up the information. There are so many things that you will be able to learn and see what the foundation is doing,” she said, adding that Tzu Chi has constructed hospitals in many countries around the world, has a robust education system from early education to university and is located in many countries around the world.
Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung is grateful to all volunteers for their efforts and recipients for graciously accepting the assistance.