Tzu Chi extends emergency food package distribution. Persons in need can visit the foundation | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) – The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation has extended its emergency food package distribution by one week to make it possible for more persons in the community, who are in need of immediate assistance to obtain much-needed food items to help tide them through these tough times.   

The distribution will continue until Sunday, September 13, 2020. 

Persons who are in need of an emergency food package can contact the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation located opposite Cake House Supermarket on the L.B. Scott Road between the hours of 12:00pm and 3:00pm during the course of this week and sign up to receive a food package on the spot. One package will be given per family in need.  

Persons who have already received food packages are urged to not sign up again as the remaining emergency packages are for families who have not yet received. 

The packages contain items such as a 10lb bag of rice, 5lb bag of flour, cooking oil, brown sugar, salt, lentils peas, red beans, baking powder, toilet paper and Clorox. 

Tzu Chi has stepped up its efforts to assist the needy in the community with emergency food packages since March during the start of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which left many persons jobless and many others with reduced income. 

For the first emergency food package distribution at the start of the pandemic, a total of 3,826 food packages were distributed to persons in need benefitting some 9,315 family members. This was done with the assistance of 264 volunteers. Additionally, 16,394 loaves of bread were also distributed around the island with the assistance of 816 volunteers. It is estimated that 21,512 family members benefited from this initiative between April 11 and May 28.   

In an effort to continue assisting the needy, Tzu ChiI began providing short term relief for three months for 200 families. Due to the restriction associated with COVID-19, Tzu Chi volunteers have been executing the food package distribution exercises according to regulations set by authorities. 

To avoid large crowds, recipients are given specific dates and time to collect their food packages, taking into consideration social distancing and sanitization guidelines and face mask requirements. Hand sanitizers and, if needed, masks, are provided, for safety. 

Provisions are made for persons who are not in Tzu Chi’s system, but need immediate assistance to receive food packages immediately. 

More recently, between August 31 and September 1, the foundation distributed a total of 1,726 food packages to families. The massive effort was possible thanks to the assistance of some 864 volunteers. The foundation estimates that a total of 5,327 family members have benefited from the items donated. 

The food distribution has been extended by a week where a total of 3,500 packages are expected to be distributed amongst families that are in need.   

One grateful recipient recently expressed his appreciation for what he had received. “Things are very hard right now. Each day, we don’t know what is going to happen, especially not having a job…  I was fortunate to find (Tzu Chi) that is giving donation and I really appreciate it. It will do very well for me.” 

Another recipient said many persons in the community are in need of assistance due to uncertainty with employment and he thanked Tzu Chi for stepping up to the plate to offer assistance. 

Tzu Chi Foundation Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the distribution would not have been possible without the generous efforts of the volunteers who sacrifice their time to assist with the initiative. 

The distribution efforts are possible in part due to the continuous donation containers of rice from Tzu Chi’s head office in Taiwan. Containers of rice are being sent to assist the community of St. Maarten since after Hurricane Irma in 2017. The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation received the tenth container of rice on August 4.   

Tzu Chi St. Maarten volunteers are deeply thankful to Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen for her support, deep compassion and love, which makes it possible for local volunteers to create blessings by helping others. While many have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, “we receive a great joyful feeling by helping others,” one grateful volunteer said. 

Cheung quoted the words of Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen, who said: “With good intentions come blessings. With the will comes the strength.” 






Source: Souliga Newsday