SS eventh-day Adventists in Brazil are helping neighbors and strangers during the pandemic and subsequent quarantines. The stories of three members illustrate the trend.
Alaide Helena Lacerda de Souza Silva, age 55, at first sewed face masks by hand. She used only cloth, needle, thread and the knowledge acquired on the internet, enhanced by a desire to help others.
A sewing machine would speed up the sewing process, but there was no financial means to buy it. Alaide, a beautician, acquired a skin disease from chemicals used in her work, which affected her hands. Therefore, she had to leave her job and her benefits were cut.
Despite the challenges, Alaide continued to do what she could to help others. She gave the seamstresses the materials needed to make the product and paid for the service of the professionals. When someone knocked on her door, without masks or with a dirty mask, she promptly donated a new one.
When emergency aid from the Brazilian federal government arrived in her bank account, Alaide used it to buy her own sewing machine. Today, she makes the items and does not charge anything for them. She also produces dish cloths and other materials with the machine and seeks to give gifts to those who have felt alone in this quarantine.
“I do it for love. My father always taught me about the principle of giving. I love doing this for the elderly.,” she said.
Alaide is not alone in her outreach. Her husband, Robson Silva, 72, a retired chemistry technician also makes volunteering a lifestyle. He even prepares a type of handmade soap.
From the proceeds of soap sales, he buys food, which is delivered to Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA), a ministry responsible for helping needy families. ASA distributes food baskets in the neighborhoods where Adventist churches are located.
“There is no rich person who needs nothing, nor so poor who has nothing to give,” Robson said. In the video below, the couple shows what they prepared to donate.
Ingridy Duarte, 32, realized that work, study and friends completely filled her personal schedule, but her heart craved something more: she wondered, “Why can't I take a break and put time on the schedule to help those in need?”
Currently, her time is divided between work and volunteering. She is the manager of Projeto Acolhro, which takes effective actions when working on positive feelings, such as empathy and happiness. The creator of the initiative is the “Tio Flávio Cultural” movement, which has over a thousand volunteers.
The project that Ingridy coordinates works at Casa Esperança 11, one of the shelters for vulnerable children, assisted by the Adventist Development and Assistance Resources Agency (ADRA) , based in the state of Minas Gerais.
“We contribute to the child's long-term social transformation. We bring them education, personal preservation, growth, values. Volunteering is all that! It is still taking a little bit of ours and transferring it to someone else. I am passionate about volunteering,” she said.