Fernanda Gomes | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I n Brazil, one of the sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic has been student transport. With schools closed for the past two months, many school drivers have been out of work. Students and parents joined the Colégio Adventista de Itaboraí, in the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro, to donate basic food baskets to these professionals. Some parents even chose to continue paying the monthly transportation fee.

Thirteen drivers received an invitation to attend a brief meeting at the school on Tuesday, May 19. When they arrived, they received the surprise food baskets. Driver Márcio Sampaio, who has been driving a school van for 11 years and has been stationary for two months, says, “The situation is very complicated for every class of schoolchildren; this has been shaking our family in every way.”

The donations were made by people like businesswoman Martina Maia, who has three children studying at the school. "We thought we would be very affected by this crisis, but, surprisingly, we are working harder than before! We want to share a little of what we have with someone who needs it," she says.

Information Technology analyst Ênio Martinez is one of the parents who continued to pay the monthly fee for the vans. “As soon as the pandemic started, I saw that I would not be financially affected, since I already work from my home office. I understood that I should honor the commitment I made at the beginning of the year, since the driver has his expenses,” explains Martinez.

“We wanted to demonstrate to drivers that we care and that we are attentive to their needs,” highlights Geovane Felix, president of the Church in the region (Rio Fluminense Association).

Other Adventist schools in the Rio de Janeiro region, Niterói, São Gonçalo, Itaboraí, Macaé, Campos dos Goytacazes and Bom Jesus de Itabapoana, have also joined to support school transportation professionals. “In these regions, we also serve drivers who do not work directly with us,” says Josué Nunes, Adventist Education director for the region.

“What we did was a show of affection for this group that transports our nearly three thousand students,” points out Jander Campos, financial director for the Adventist Church in the region.

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