Published On: Fri, Aug 10th, 2018

Tzu Chi gives 500 bags of rice to 500 French side families

Tzu Chi donates 500 bags of rice (1)

FRENCH QUARTER/PHILIPSBURG — The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation has again taken its rice distribution across the border to assist residents of French St. Martin, who are also in need.

The foundation donated 500 bags of “Love Rice” to 500 families in French Quarter on Sunday, August 5. Each bag of rice contains 10kg (22 pounds) of rice. It is estimated that the rice will benefit 1,546 family members. The distribution was held in front of the Cultural Center building in French Quarter.

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A total of 45 volunteers got another opportunity to practice leadership skills, gratitude, respect and love when serving others during the distribution. Twenty three of those participating are Tzu Chi volunteers, 14 are Chinese construction workers and engineers from the Maho rebuilding project and eight are French Quarter residents who joined the foundation as new volunteers.

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The rice distribution gave Tzu Chi volunteers an opportunity to interact with residents living in the French Quarter district. Volunteers also got a chance to share information about the foundation and offered recipients a chance to give back, by putting a donation of any amount from their hearts in Tzu Chi’s bamboo bank (collection box). Giving back in this manner follows the teachings of Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen, who says that “giving is not the privilege of the rich, but is the privilege of a sincere heart.”

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Tzu Chi said in a press release that recipients were very happy to be given an opportunity to give. Some said they wished they knew beforehand that they could have donated and some returned home to be able to assist. At the end of the event US $160.50 was donated into the “bamboo bank.”

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Many of the residents are still out of job since hurricane Irma devastated the island and rendered many jobless in September, 2017. “Recipients were really grateful to receive the Love Rice and for a chance to give to help others. The feelings of giving are very good,” Tzu Chi said in the press release.

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Tzu Chi St. Maarten Commissioner Sandra Cheung thanked volunteers for taking the time out to participate in the distribution. She also thanked the recipients for gratefully accepting the Love Rice and for helping Tzu Chi to continue its benevolent work by donating in the bamboo bank. She also thanked Rose Rumnit, who assisted in identifying the 500 families in need in French Quarter and Leopold Illidge for allowing Tzu Chi to use his property for the distribution.

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Tzu Chi will continue to spread seeds of love by distributing more rice to families in need on the island.

The 500 bags of rice donated on August 5, was part of a container of rice sent to St. Maarten by Tzu Chi’s head office in Taiwan to help alleviate the burden still being experienced by many residents in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which affected the country in September last year.