South American Division

Rio Grande do Sul Receives Letters of Solidarity from Students

On May 8, 2024, a gesture captured the hearts of ADRA volunteers assisting flood victims.

Cláudia Brito, with ANN Staff
Students and teacher Lila, from the Cônego Vitor Municipal School, in Três Pontas, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Students and teacher Lila, from the Cônego Vitor Municipal School, in Três Pontas, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

[Photo: Personal archive]

The ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) Distribution Center in Novo Hamburgo, Rio Grande do Sul (RS), in partnership with Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA), continues to be a cornerstone in assisting families affected by the rains in Rio Grande do Sul.

Maintained by the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA), this center is the point of convergence for donations from across the country. From there, donations go to several Adventist churches in the north of RS, which distribute clothes, basic food baskets, shoes, mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits, and cleaning products to affected families.

A Gesture of Solidarity

On May 8, 2024, a gesture captured the hearts of everyone involved. Among the boxes of donations received, they found not only packets of powdered milk but also letters of solidarity from students in the 4th year of elementary school I, from teacher Lila Mendonça, from Escola Municipal Cônego Vitor, located in Três Pontas, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Mendonça sent a letter with the donations, expressing a message of solidarity and faith. "We are far away, but linked by the love of our neighbors and the love of God, our Father," she wrote. The letter was accompanied by the signatures of the children in the class, each representing a sincere gesture of support and affection.

Letter from Vitória Emanuelly to children who lost their homes in Rio Grande do Sul.
Letter from Vitória Emanuelly to children who lost their homes in Rio Grande do Sul.

Solidarity Letters

Many letters contained drawings of helicopters saving people from the water, accompanied by words of hope, assuring that everything would be fine. This act of generosity and empathy from young students not only comforted families in difficulty but also highlighted the power of love and solidarity in times of crisis.

In an interview, Mendonça shared the origin of this gesture. "Here we are all very moved and grateful with all of this! With this chain of love that has been transformed! Last week, in light of everything that was happening, the children brought these events to the room, news that they saw on TV about RS. So I saw that we should talk about this."

However, she explained how the classroom discussion evolved into a practical action of solidarity. "They talked a lot about the rescues, how they happened, people without homes, where they were going. They said that many people lost everything, everything. They had nothing left. What if it were us in this situation, in this suffering of losing everything! So we arrived at the point of donations. The question was: 'Auntie, can we donate, can we help?' And then we talked and agreed that whoever could, could bring something to help. And didn't they, each one with a little something? You needed to see their joy in bringing the donation from home!", he details.

Little letter from Ryany.
Little letter from Ryany.

School Contribution

Mendonça and other members of the school community came together to complement the children's donations. "Me, my husband and two other friends from school, we supplemented the donations with water and milk. It was then that I talked to them about also sending a drawing with the donations. Then I talked to them about the idea of sending a drawing expressing our love and our faith that everything will get better, it will pass. But when we did it, we never thought it could take this proportion, because everything was so natural, so pure, everything so full of love!"

The children's doubts about the fate of the letters showed their sincerity and concern. "When I put the letters in the milk carton, they still asked: 'But Auntie, will it get there? Will they like it?' I replied: 'I don't know if it will happen, but we are doing our part!'"

The donation delivery was an emotional event for everyone involved. "So we all went to take the donations to a store here in the city center, which was receiving donations to be sent. Even when we arrived, the owner of the store was amazed at their attitude! They were euphoric, very happy with the situation. It was beautiful! Even if it had ended there, they were already satisfied, they were happy and aware of what they did," Mendonça states.

Letter from Vitor Miguel.
Letter from Vitor Miguel.

Impact of Good

Volunteers at the ADRA Distribution Center in Novo Hamburgo were deeply moved by the letters. "It was a very emotional moment for all of us. The children's letters of solidarity showed that, even from far away, they are committed to helping and bringing hope to those who need it most", said volunteer Nilson Zimmer, who opened the box with the donations and saw the letters.

The original article was published on the South American Division Portuguese website.

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