Action started around 8:30 a.m. in Greater Vitória [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

South America

Church Closes and Becomes Blood Donation Point

Volunteers opened the door to solidarity with the application of all security procedures

Brazil | Leonardo Saimon

After the state government's decision to adopt stricter measures to combat the pandemic across the state of Espírito Santo, an Adventist church in Greater Vitória decided to suspend church services and open the door to solidarity. Predicting the drop in the collection of blood bags, church leaders signed a partnership with the local blood center, and on Sabbath, March 20, the environment became a point of blood donation. The action is part of the Life for Lives project, held in celebration of World Adventist Youth Day.
Ualison Santos, the project organizer at the local church, explains that the idea was born with the aim of celebrating the festive date, serving the community. “We don't want to just listen to sermons; we want to be God's hand working in this region. And seeing the scarcity of blood collection stocks, we needed to do something to change this reality ”, he corroborates.

Ualison's concern is substantiated. Between March and June of 2020, Hemoes registered 3,000 fewer donors in that period in Espírito Santo; and at the beginning of this year, the entity again said it continues with a low inventory.

To avoid crowds, the organizers created a form so interested parties could schedule a donation time. In addition, the site was divided into rooms with an open and ventilated environment to provide air circulation. The church ensured temperature control and recurrent use of gel alcohol with all donors. The group collected about 70 grants and had to extend donations until 5 p.m. due to the number of donors.

Veteran Janaicla Almeida has been donating blood for 15 years. Now, more than ever, she understands she cannot help but donate. "We go through difficult times, but there are people who are in worse situations needing help", she believes.

Vida por Vidas is a voluntary initiative promoted by Adventist youth since 2005 and was born with the proposal to contribute to blood centers by encouraging blood donation, especially during the Easter season. Since last year, in addition to the festivity, the project has gained even more momentum with the need to raise funds due to the pandemic.

“It is important to continue donating, right? Regardless of the pandemic. The need is even greater because of the pandemic. Many people who could donate for the first time end up not donating”, said Roger Wanderlei.

Virtual Services

In Espírito Santo, a state decision decreed a 14-day quarantine. This led the Espírito Santo youth to use their creativity to celebrate World Adventist Youth Day. Although religious activities are considered essential in the state, the church in Laranjeiras closed its doors. With a structure adapted for the transmission of services, the place opened only to receive donors.

“We have a group of elderly people in our church. Therefore, we understand that the best alternative, at this moment, is not to open. However, we remain relevant despite the fact that our doors are closed”, explained Pastor Emanuel Assis.

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