College runners were filled with food collected by the teams. [Photo: Reproduction]

South America

School Collects 43 Tons of Food During Christmas Mutirão Gincana in Santa Catarina

Food will benefit needy families and flood victims

Brazi | Paulo Ribeiro

For the past four weeks, one of the most talked-about topics among students, parents, and employees of Blumenau Adventist College (CAB) was the friendly color competition of the Mutirão de Natal (“Christmas Campaign”). The school was divided into five teams (green, purple, yellow, red, and blue), and each needed to reach the goal of two tons of food.

On December 4, the school held a closing event for the action. During the program, the targets reached by the teams were announced. All of them exceeded the established target, and together they collected 43 tons of food, a target three times higher than stipulated.

Even before the campaign was closed, each team was encouraged to assemble and donate 20 food baskets to needy families in some of the city's neighborhoods. English teacher Priscila Spredemann was one of the team leaders who delivered the food to a community.

Higher volume of food arrived on the last day of the gymkhana, during a solidary drive-thru (Photo: Reproduction)

Higher volume of food arrived on the last day of the gymkhana, during a solidary drive-thru (Photo: Reproduction)

"For me, it was an incredible experience. I saw children jumping up and down and saying, 'Mom, there's a cookie in the basket.’ This touched my seven-year-old daughter. She said, 'Mom, why was this boy so happy with a small package of cookies?’ I said, 'It's because you have several at home, and he doesn't. Sometimes, he doesn't know what to do with them. Sometimes, he doesn't know what a yogurt or a jelly tastes like.’ I taught my daughters a lesson that no school would have taught them if it hadn't provided this experience," says Priscila.

Prestigious Authorities

The closing event took place in CAB's auditorium and was attended by students and their families, school staff, businessmen, and city councilmen, as well as marquee leaders: the mayor of Blumenau, Mário Hildebrandt; the deputy mayor, Maria Regina; the leader of the Social Development Department, Alexandre Matias; the food security manager of Blumenau's Municipal Health Department, Alexandra Coelho Zabel; and the Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA) director for the northern and western regions of Santa Catarina, Adilson Silva.

Mayor of Blumenau (in black suit), college staff and other municipal authorities (Photo: Reproduction)

Mayor of Blumenau (in black suit), college staff and other municipal authorities (Photo: Reproduction)

On the occasion, the school donated eight tons of food to social assistance entities in Blumenau. In his speech, Mayor Hildebrandt thanked everyone for the donation and congratulated the school for its engagement in the campaign. "Surely, this is a gift for each and every citizen, for those you have already delivered and for those we will have the opportunity to deliver. Congratulations to all the teams."

The municipal chief executive also said that when honoring the event, he remembered some texts from the Bible, including Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (KJV). According to Hildebrandt, this verse was very important in changing his life.

Local ASA teams were also at the event to receive donations. As explained by the campaign's organizers, about eight tons of food will be sent to the regional Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to help families affected by the floods in Santa Catarina in recent weeks.

Partnership and Awards

Among the business partners of the Mutirão de Natal campaign who attended the event was Gilmar Rogério Sprung, one of the partners of Alles Park Ecoturismo e Entretenimento from Pomerode, a city next to Blumenau. "We are very happy to be here as a partner in such a beautiful and wonderful action. I really appreciate the participation, the engagement of everyone, the Christmas spirit that invaded the hearts of all of you who helped—who are here on this wonderful day," he congratulated.

Together with the entrepreneur was the commercial manager of Alles Park, Raimundo de Alencar. Besides congratulating the union and engagement of the teams, he announced that all students from the winning team will win a ticket to access and enjoy all the attractions of the park.

Press Coverage

During the first weeks of the campaign, the reporting team from NSC TV, a Rede Globo affiliate, was at the school to report on the Mutirão de Natal mobilization. To take advantage of the World Cup atmosphere, in this year's edition (the third of its kind), the scoreboard with the campaign targets was in the shape of a soccer field.

Blood Donation

Besides collecting food, to receive more points during the competition, some team members donated blood to the Hematology and Hemotherapy Center of Santa Catarina (HEMOSC), Blumenau unit. According to the school's vice principal, Jobson Santos, there were 282 donors who will help more than 800 people.

Donation counted on the engagement of parents and school staff (Photo: Reproduction)

Donation counted on the engagement of parents and school staff (Photo: Reproduction)

Mutirão de Natal 

Mutirão de Natal is a project promoted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church through the Adventist Solidarity Action, which primarily provides a dignified Christmas dinner for people who live in social vulnerability and, on this festive date, do not have even the basics for survival: a plate of food.

The proposal is to help change the lives of people in need by offering medical and psychological care, courses, and guidelines for generating employment and income, among other Adventist initiatives.

The original article was published on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site