Some of the recipients with their food packages.
The container being offloaded.
A package being donated to an elderly resident.
Volunteers in St. Vincent worked overtime to sort the food items in packages for recipients.
PHILIPSBURG--In an effort to continue to assist families who are still recovering from the disasters that hit their nation over the past three years, Tzu Chi Foundation St. Maarten recently sent a container of food relief items to help some 1,500 families in St. Vincent.
The container contained 1,500 one-litre bottles of cooking oil, 3,000 500g packs of pasta, 3,000 1lb packs of dried peas and 3,000 boxes of milk powder. From the container, each family that had been identified for assistance received one bottle of cooking oil, two packs of pasta, two packs of dried beans and two boxes of milk powder.
The people of North Windward in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have suffered tremendously from three major disasters over the past two years: the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, the passage of Hurricane Elsa and, most recently, on June 23, 2023, the passage of Tropical Storm Bret. These disasters have caused tremendous disruption to the lives and livelihoods of person living in this area, which is now referred to as the “Red Zone”.
Tzu Chi had assisted residents after the volcanic eruption. In July, the Park Hill Evangelical Church in St. Vincent updated Tzu Chi on how residents were coping, which resulted in efforts being made to render assistance to those still struggling. The church said the people living in the disaster area were still in need of support in many ways and would be extremely grateful if Tzu Chi could assist in mitigating some of the challenges they were facing.
Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said that after evaluating the request, the foundation decided to offer assistance in the form of relief items. The church received a 100% tax-free concession on the container when it arrived in St. Vincent.
Park Hill Evangelical Church Elder Brian Dabreo, Senator Shevern John, and Dr. Mineva Glasgow received the donation in St. Vincent and coordinated the distribution to persons in need.
“On behalf of the people of the North Windward constituency and myself, Shevern John, I wish to extend heartfelt thanks to [Tzu Chi founder – Ed.] Master Cheng Yen, Sister Sandra Cheung, all volunteers in Taiwan and St. Maarten, bro Brian and Sister Minerva for the hard work you have done to get this shipment to us. We acknowledge your time and effort to get this shipment to St. Vincent. The people of North Windward are happy that you have seen it fit to spread the seed of love in their hearts,” a grateful John said.
The communities in North Windward also expressed sincere gratitude to Master Cheng Yen,
Cheung, donors in Taiwan, volunteers in Taiwan, St. Maarten and the entire Tzu Chi Foundation for their love and support.
Dr. Glasgow was equally grateful. “Sincere thanks to you and the Foundation for your kind hospitality and generosity. Many hands make light work. I am expressing gratitude on behalf of the SVG-Tzu Chi Foundation, Master Cheng Yen, sister Sandra and all their associates to these volunteers who ably and willingly helped in loading and offloading the final package to bring relief to needy persons in SVG. Thank you for going above and beyond to help the less fortunate in our society,” said Dr. Glasgow.
The recipients accepted the donations with humility. One recipient, Ledtina Goodgie, a 79-year-old wheelchair-bound senior from Pembroke, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, lost her husband in 2004. She has three grown children who are married, but they have their own families and they are working hard to make ends meet. Although they reach out to her, they cannot satisfy all her needs.
Goodgie receives a social welfare payment, but this is used to help with her utility bills and medication. She is grateful for assistance rendered to her from charitable institutions such as the SVG-Tzu Chi Foundation and she extended sincere gratitude to the foundation, Master Cheng Yen, and all the donors and associates for their sacrificial giving and for reaching out to the less fortunate like herself to bring relief in their time of need.
Another recipient, a man with the last initial C. received the donation with a humble heart. The Campden Park resident is HIV positive and is receiving treatment from Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Given his condition, he lives alone because his relatives have abandoned him. He has expressed gratitude to Tzu Chi Foundation for reaching out to him with this kind gesture of donating food to him.
One recipient from the rural village of Diamond in St Vincent said the donation will go a long way in assisting her to satisfy a need.
Tzu Chi St. Maarten Commissioner Sandra Cheung is humbled that Tzu Chi was able to spread seeds of love to many lives in St. Vincent.