T he mobile service unit of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) completed four years of work on June 26, 2020, reaching the milestone of 20,000 people assisted.
Created to serve communities affected by disasters, the mobile aid station has served victims of tragedies such as the January 2019 Brumadinho dam disaster in Minas Gerais; landslides in São Paulo, and now in support of the fight against the coronavirus.
During this period, the vehicle passed through more than 40 Brazilian cities, served more than 107,000 meals and washed 112 tons of clothes.
“The ADRA Brazil truck was created with the aim of bringing relief in the midst of suffering. Natural disasters are common in Brazil, and in the midst of the despair of having lost everything, the services offered guarantee the basics for those who have been affected: food, hygiene, and psychosocial assistance,” said ADRA Brazil director Pastor Fábio Salles.
“In the midst of the pandemic, with the increase in poverty and unemployment, our truck continues to guarantee the essential to maintain the dignity of the humblest Brazilian families. Love that moves is the slogan of the cart; with justice, compassion and love,” added Salles.
The adapted truck has approximately 484 square feet (45 m²) of floor space and is divided into three compartments: the first is used for preparing hot food, with a capacity for up to 1,500 meals per shift; the second is intended for washing and drying clothes, with the capacity to deliver up to 360 kg of clean clothes per day; and the third for counseling support.
In the four years of the solidarity truck, ADRA worker Cristiane Alejo de Freitas Maximiano experienced was able to serve everywhere the mobile unit passed.
She has lived with victims of floods, landslides, vulnerable people, and other situations that made her reflect on love for others. “By putting ourselves in the other person's place, we can understand their suffering and thus act in a practical way to alleviate it. That's when I understood that this is compassion,” she said.
Cristiane coordinates the truck’s operations with her husband, Tiago Maximiano. They do everything from the logistics of the vehicle to managing its operation. “Today I am better than yesterday. Being part of that mission has transformed me and my life,” she said.
Fighting the new coronavirus
With the pandemic of the new coronavirus and the need to support many Brazilian cities, ADRA's mobile unit has already taken action. In 20 days of operation in Salvador, Bahia, it served more than 10,000 meals and washed 5 tons of clothes for people on the streets. In Rio Grande do Sul, the truck supports shelters for the social isolation of vulnerable people, serving 3,000 meals and washing 6 tons of clothes.
In Espírito Santo, the truck will work until August to support an isolation center for people living on the streets, in addition to a needy local community. There will be more than 12,500 ready meals, in addition to 20 tons of washed clothes.