Aniceta Abuya happily brings home the 20 kilos rice given to her family by Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines. She and her seven family members will consume the rice for about two weeks. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】
Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines extended its help to 887 families in Barangay Sto. Domingo in Quezon City when it distributed 20-kilo sacks of rice on June 9 held at the Philippine Buddhacare Academy.
The distributed rice was donated by the Taiwan government to the indigent Filipinos. On 2011, the first shipment of the 1, 500 tons of high quality rice to the Philippines from Taiwan aided almost 75, 000 families.
For Aniceta Abuya, 32, one of the rice recipients, there will now be enough rice that could be shared by their eight-member family which could last for at least two weeks.
"Our food budget is always limited. We need to be thrifty to our other needs because the money we earn is not always the same," she said.
Aniceta and her partner Mark Aguilar, 31, scavenge for a living.
Every week, they earn P1, 200 which they need to budget for their family's daily needs like food, school allowance of their four children in grade school, and for the milk of their twins.
Meanwhile their rice budget in a week amounts to more than P200, which is equivalent to eight kilos of rice (P27 per kilo). The viand that the family would share is not yet included in the said budget.
Add to this, Aniceta and Mark need to save a part of their budget for the monthly house rent which costs P1, 600; and utilities like electricity and water amounting to P1, 200.
With the 20-kilo sack of rice given by Tzu Chi Foundation to Aniceta's family, their food needs will not be a problem anymore.
"Now that we have rice, the budget that we would use for it could now be used to buy additional milk for my children," Aniceta gleefully said.
Aniceta extended her gratefulness after receiving the rice from the charitable organization. "I am very happy that they gave us some comfort through this rice gift. I am glad that Tzu Chi returned to help us."
As Aniceta's way of repaying the goodness and the continuous help Tzu Chi Foundation gives to the residents of Barangay Sto. Domingo, she donated some recyclables to the organization.
"I donated some of the recyclables that I have collected (from scavenging) to extend my help to the people the foundation is aiding. Instead of me selling it, I gave it to Tzu Chi so that I could also help. I learned from Tzu Chi how to share our blessings to our fellow," she said.
The recyclables donated to Tzu Chi Foundation is sold and the proceeds are used to fund its missions.
The gratefulness to the help of Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines was also lauded by another resident, Ma. Victoria Prochina, 37.
"It is of great help that we are aided with the 20 kilos of rice by Tzu Chi. I hope that they could help more indigent people like us," she said after receiving the small gift given by the organization.
Her husband has an irregular job as a mechanic, the only one who works and provides the needs of their six-member family.
For each week, the Prochina family, consume 10 kilos of rice or equivalent to P300.
From the rice that the organization gave, according to Victoria, the family budget for two weeks equivalent to P600 could be used for the other needs of their family.
On the other hand, Victoria and Aniceta first knew about Tzu Chi Foundation when a fire disaster happened on June 2009. They were among the 202 families aided with some of the basic needs during the relief activity of the charitable organization.
"On 2009, they gave us casserole, spoons, forks, and other household needs. Tzu Chi gave enough relief items for us who were victimized by the fire on 2009. From then on, we started collecting recyclables and giving donations to Tzu Chi by saving in a coin bank," Victoria reminisced.
Before the actual rice distribution to the residents of Barangay Sto. Domingo, a short program was led by the 102 Chinese and Filipino Tzu Chi volunteers, staff, and the graduates of the organization's Livelihood Training Program.
Through this, the message of love and care by Tzu Chi founder, Master Cheng Yen, was extended to each of the beneficiaries as the volunteers discussed the missions of the foundation.
The Tzu Chi volunteers were not the only ones who brought inspiration but the beneficiaries too, when the latter donated recyclables and dropped their donations in the Tzu Chi coin banks.
The program ended with a short but sincere prayer.
From listening to the sharing of the Tzu Chi volunteers in the program, Barangay Sto. Domingo Chairman Richard Yu remembered the things that he learned from the previous relief activities of the organization he had joined.
"I had joined many relief activities of the organization, from there; they planted in me the importance of helping our fellowmen. We hope that Tzu Chi continues to help us and other needy people. Now, almost 1, 000 families were helped here and we are very grateful that they never forget to help us," Chairman Yu said.
Meanwhile, Philippine Buddhacare Academy Principal Elizabeth Co thanked Tzu Chi Foundation and its founder, Master Cheng Yen.
"I am very grateful that we were given the chance to have our school as the venue of (Tzu Chi's) rice distribution. Thank you to Master Cheng Yen for with her love to humanity, an activity like this is realized. I believe that through the continuous flow of love, like what has happened today, the indigents' condition will change as they gradually learn from Tzu Chi the good deeds and the right path to change their lives," Principal Co ended.
To have an orderly rice distribution and to ensure that the rightful beneficiaries received the rice gift, Tzu Chi volunteers conducted a home visit to the residents last March 18. A rice stub distribution took place on June 4.