Mobilized on several fronts, Adventist volunteers donate more than 40 tons of food :Adventist News Online

Mobilized on several fronts, Adventist volunteers donate more than 40 tons of food :Adventist News Online

The pandemic has exposed human frailty in an intense way, bringing difficulties to the lives of thousands of people. However, this period full of challenges also increased solidarity actions. 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church, which maintains a department to manage social services projects, is very attentive to the needs of the community. In the southern region of Maranhão, Brazil, members have been involved on several fronts to bring support to those in need, organizing actions in several municipalities in the state.

Since the beginning of the crisis, bringing food to people in need has been a priority for the church, and the worsening of the pandemic in the early months of 2021 has made the fight against hunger even more important. As a result of the Easter Mutirão, an annual project that promotes the distribution of essential items during the Easter season, more than 3,330 basic food baskets were delivered last week, totaling more than 40 tons of food.

This number is the result of the work of members of each congregation, of the schools of the Adventist Education Network, and also of the participation of the administrative headquarters of the Adventist Church in the region. Along with food baskets, the volunteers also delivered 1,000 individual protection kits against COVID-19.

Pastor Francisco de Assis, who attends the Central Adventist Church in Imperatriz, says that members prepared in advance to participate in the Easter efforts, and the response was very positive. According to him, many of the people helped do not have the basics to eat and they are extremely grateful to church members who bring them food baskets. 

“In general, they say that the basket arrived at just the right time, and that it will make a big difference in their lives,” de Assis says. “This work significantly impacts the lives of those we serve, and also those of the members, who feel satisfaction in fulfilling what Jesus taught us through His life.”

There were also groups which chose to distribute ready meals such as soups, bread, sandwiches, and fruits. Last weekend, young people from the cities of Bom Jesus das Selvas and São Luís Gonzaga offered meals accompanied by Varal Solidário. While there to receive food, recipients could also choose from a collection of donated clothing. In Grajaú and Açailândia, young people held solidarity events to collect food.

In addition to specific projects, churches continually maintain a register of vulnerable families who are served by Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA).

The efforts of health professionals who are working on the front line against COVID-19 have inspired expressions of recognition and gratitude. In the cities of Imperatriz, Porto Franco, Pindaré-Mirim, and Presidente Dutra, representatives of Adventist education and the Federation of Entrepreneurs Adventists Sul Maranhense visited hospitals which were treating patients with the novel coronavirus during Easter weekend. Health professionals were honored with songs, posters, snacks, and gifts. Prayers and spiritual messages brought encouragement to this group, which also needs care. In Araguanã, the volunteers also offered breakfast to the employees of the city hospital.

Another concern at the moment is with the supply of blood banks. Thinking about this issue, young Adventists organized themselves to carry out the Vida para Vidas (Life for Lives) blood donation campaign in all regions of the Mission Sul Maranhense. The objective is to contribute to blood centers and raise the population’s awareness of the importance of donation.

The first city to implement the campaign this semester was Santa Inês, with events lasting until Saturday, April 10. Within the limitations of the pandemic, 120 donors are expected to participate.

People who want to collaborate with solidarity actions such as these can look for a nearby Adventist Church (find it here) and ask about ongoing activities.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site.

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