Nearly three dozen Seventh-day Adventist churches and organizations across Canada received grants from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the church’s global humanitarian arm, to expand their community services during the COVID-19 pandemic. ADRA in Canada, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada and Adventist Community Services of the North American Division, partnered to provide the grants, which are expected to total nearly $400,000 (CAD), equivalent to $300,000 (USD).
“With 44 percent of Canadian households reporting lost work due to the coronavirus shutdown, we are seeing unprecedented levels of need across the country,” says Daniel Saugh, ADRA programs manager in Canada. “The grants will help churches feed the hungry and minister to people who are hurting during this time of isolation and uncertainty.”
The 33 grants awarded so far were used primarily to distribute food and hygiene products. For instance, the Staff of Life Food Bank in Scarborough, Ontario, operated by the Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church, used its ADRA grant to provide clients with personal care kits containing hard-to-find supplies such as toilet paper, disinfectant spray and antibacterial soap.
One grant supplied personal protective equipment to a nursing home, while another purchased tablets for a nursing home so that elderly residents could connect with their families. Three of the grants provided food or mental health support to vulnerable First Nations communities.
“Most people don’t think that food banks are on the front line, but we are because we are meeting a need during this crisis,” says Cynthia Louis-Smith, director of donor relations for the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which received a $25,000 grant to distribute food hampers. “Food banks, including Parker Street, are able to fill that gap because of support from our supporters and organizations, like ADRA.”
The grant program has assisted Adventists in showing Jesus’ care and compassion to their communities during these difficult times. “We have helped more than 20,000 people and counting across the country in response to the increased needs caused by COVID-19,” Saugh says.
ADRA’s grants in Canada are part of the organization’s global COVID-19 response, which includes aid to approximately 2.7 million families in more than 70 countries. ADRA’s emergency relief activities include distributing food, hygiene products and cash vouchers to people in need as well as training frontline workers and providing medical supplies to hospitals serving vulnerable communities.