ST. PETERS - The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation has provided relief supplies and emergency financial aid to the 15 individuals who were affected by the devastating fire in St. Peters on August 2.
Eight volunteers visited the fire site on Sunday, August 10 to meet with fire victims as well as hand over the relief items to the members of the six families who were affected.
Donated to the families were boxes of clean clothing; 15 envelopes with emergency cash relief and 15 containers each with rice, cornflake, milk, sugar, oil, spaghetti, face towel, toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, biscuits, peanut butter and bread etc. Six zinc sheets, which had been requested by one of the families whose home had been partially destroyed, were also donated.
Tzu Chi had originally visited the site the day after the fire on Sunday, August 3, where the information from the various families had been recorded.
Volunteers used the opportunity to share some inspiring words of encouragement to the fire victims.
Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the foundation had been grateful for the opportunity to have been able to assist victims of disasters in their time of need.
New Tzu Chi Commissioner volunteer Yamile Bastidas gave an insight into the history of the foundation and how it began by Taiwanese Master Cheng Yen and 30 housewives who set aside US $0.02 cents of their grocery money daily to help the poor in their villages.
Bastidas said it was this sincere gesture of love that has spread across the world over the past 48 years and is the inspiration behind Tzu Chi’s efforts. She said the community of St. Maarten is fortunate to have the blessing of Tzu Chi in the country carrying out the same pure love.
The foundation recruits members (donors) and volunteers in St. Maarten, whose monthly contributions are used to help the needy in the community. “We believe that with our effort of love, we will create a better community,” she told fire victims.
Cheung encouraged recipients and their neighbours to look out for each other and not to wait for a disaster to offer a lending hand to others. The 15 recipients were so touched and appreciative of the kind gesture from the foundation and its volunteers that they pledged to be of assistance to others. Some began the blessing field by donating whatever they could to be able to assist others, even as they themselves were being helped. The devastating fire may have destroyed their homes and belongings, but it did not destroy their conscience, love and care for others. The fire victims have become more compassionate.
At the end of the relief volunteers interacted with the various families with sign language song “One Family.”
Tzu Chi volunteers promised to follow up with the fire victims by visiting them the second Sunday of each month.