Tzu Chi raising funds for persons affected by Nepal quake  

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation is raising funds to assist persons affected by the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that wreaked havoc when it hit Nepal on Saturday, April 25.
Local Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said in a press release issued on Tuesday that the foundation will start to raise funds at its annual triple celebration of Mother’s Day, Buddha Day and Tzu Chi Day at Tzu Chi Foundation office on Sunday, May 10, 2015.
The event starts at 3:00pm and will include a celebration of mothers, a Buddha Day ceremony and the giving of relief items to persons in the community. Tzu Chi will also be accepting donations for Nepal as well as giving persons who have Tzu Chi recycled bottle bamboo banks (donation bottles), a chance to  return these during a special bamboo bank return ceremony at the event.  Persons with bamboo banks are asked to kindly walk with them to return the funds collected thus far.
The efforts by Tzu Chi St. Maarten to raise funds for Nepal follows in the footsteps of Tzu Chi’s international disaster relief team in Taiwan, which responded with aid to help Nepal immediately after the earthquake hit. On April 26, Tzu Chi established a Nepal Earthquake Relief Command Center in Taiwan to communicate with Nepal and Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide.
The international disaster relief team left Taiwan just over an hour after the earthquake to Kathmandu, Nepal with relief supplies. A team of 15 medical professionals and disaster relief volunteers also assessed the damage to develop short and long-term aid plans. During the first phase of assessment, emergency relief supplies including portable folding beds, blankets, and Jing Si rice were delivered to the areas hit the hardest. Volunteers also took one ton of medical supplies to help approximately 1,000 people.
Over 4,000 fatalities are estimated and up to a million people said to be directly affected by the quake.
“Let us bring love and compassion to Nepal,” Cheung said in encouraging the public to support this worthy cause. In addition to donating at Tzu Chi’s triple celebration this Sunday, the public can also donate to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund at an account at WIB #21932201. Cheung said 100 per cent of donations to the fund received will go directly to earthquake relief. To contribute, call Cheung at tel. 586-3019 or 542-5361.