Jun 14, 2020 | Brasilia, Brazil |
Since the COVID-19 pandemic was officially announced, thousands of people have been affected financially. During this difficult time, small acts of compassion bring relief and help to minimize the effects of the virus on society. It was for this purpose that the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s South American Division promoted the Easter Mutirão, (coordinated work project) as conducted by Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA). The project brought several departments together in initiatives spread across eight South American nations. So far, volunteers have collected more than 3,762 tons (3,413,000 kilos) of food for those in need. The project continues under the name of Share Hope, while the economic effects of the pandemic are still present.
Every Adventist congregation in South American territory was encouraged to join the project and many became points for receiving and distributing donations. In all actions, the authorities’ recommendations to ensure the safety of all involved were respected. South American ASA leader Pastor Herbert Boger is thrilled with the result. “I see Jesus in each of the members, in the Sabbath School’s Action Units, and in the Pathfinder Groups that have committed themselves,” he said.
Food for all
Creativity was not lacking when it came to collecting food. In Santa Catarina, some churches systematized the receipt of donations using a drive-thru model. Cars passed in front of the church and volunteers quickly collected the goods. Click here to read the full story.
A pastor in Rio de Janeiro had the idea of placing a table on the sidewalk so that people passing by could donate food or remove something, if needed. Taking advantage of the opportunity, missionary books were also placed on the “table of good.” Neighbors responded positively to the initiative.
As part of the Easter Mutirão campaign, ADRA, the Adventist Church’s humanitarian agency, also led an initiative that aimed to collect 10,000 basic food baskets. The donations will be directed to more than three thousand families that were already benefited by projects carried out in the States of Pará, Amazonas, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará and Bahia. Fortunately, the goal has been exceeded, reaching 17 thousand baskets collected , enough to feed about 4,500 families.
Adventist youth came also together to supply blood banks across South America. In Brazil alone, 7,178 donors were organized into systematic groups. In Manaus, for example, Adventists have schedules scheduled at the blood center every Saturday until the end of 2020. They are expected to donate 4,000 blood bags throughout the year.
Hygiene is key
Taking into account the risk of contamination and the importance of sanitation for the whole society, ADRA installed sinks in solidarity in the city of Recife, as a protective measure for people on the streets. Hand hygiene stations aim to reduce the exposure of this group of social vulnerability to the virus. The initiative gained prominence in the media. “I see the essence of the church having prominence in the midst of a pandemic, which should continue until Jesus returns,” Boger said.