In Colombia, voluntary program assists those in need with food items.
Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist employees from throughout the Adventist Church in Colombia recently donated one day’s worth of their salary to assist vulnerable families affected by the disruption of employment during the pandemic crisis.
The appeal came for employees to voluntarily take part in what the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Colombia referred to as a humanitarian emergency in the country.
“In one of the meetings we had with ADRA leaders across the 17 conferences in the country, we proposed to appeal to church employees to donate one day of their salary, and the idea was well supported by all,” said ADRA Colombia director Jair Flórez. Flórez is in charge of the church’s humanitarian emergency technical committee.
An ADRA volunteer delivers goods to a woman in front of her home in Colombia. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]
A young man shows off the goods he received from ADRA volunteers who visited communities in need across Colombia with food assistance during the pandemic crisis. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]
Mario Ariza, ADRA director in the South Colombia church region, holds up a sign affirming that he donated a day’s worth of salary toward helping needy families across the country. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]
The initiative was presented to both union presidents in the south and the north regions, and the invitation was sent to employees to take part, Flórez said.
“Some not only donated one day but three days of their salary,” he added. “We didn’t have enough funds in ADRA to supply the needs of so many families, so that’s why we desperately appealed to church employees.”
“This was a wonderful and most needed initiative,” said Edgar Redondo, president of the Adventist Church in North Colombia. “Employees were willing to give from their heart to assist needy families. I saw their joy in giving these resources, and they know that the donation will supply all the needs of members and people in the community.”
“Most of the membership throughout Colombia works on their own and live day to day, so the income stopped once the quarantine was put into effect and affected their ability to support their families,” Redondo explained.
The church across Colombia has more than 1,200 employees in unions, conferences, missions, and institutions.
Employees posted photos on social media with the hashtag #yodonoundiadesalario (#Idonateonedayofsalary).
Donations in April neared US$15,000 from the response to the initiative. The funds were distributed across the 17 local conferences and missions to go toward the neediest through the ADRA coordinating offices across the nation. ADRA then distributed goods to hundreds of families in their communities.
The assistance distributed by ADRA Colombia went to help families in the community and the church, leaders said.
“It was wonderful to see each of the pastors and office staff open to help so many people,” said Juan Caicedo, president of the church in South Colombia. “I wish the world could also join in this type of initiative, because it allows us to say that we are one in Christ Jesus.”
Days after the government declared the country on lockdown, ADRA Colombia appealed to church members to assist in providing food to hundreds of low-income families in Cúcuta, near the border of Venezuela, earlier in April.
Flórez said that the appeal had been extended to all church members who are currently working and are able to donate a day of their salary so that ADRA Colombia can continue to provide assistance to needy families.