A teddy bear; a doll with a torn dress and dirty, and disheveled hair—this is the profile of the used toys that usually arrive for refurbishment at the home of Jandira de Quadros, 65, a resident of Fazenda Rio Grande, in the metropolitan area of Curitiba. The place looks like a real toy hospital. This year, besides restoring more than 300 items, she also made caps, blankets, and baby clothes to donate to needy people.
"I started by making the dolls, buying the heads, and [attaching] them. The first time, I made almost 150, but then I started receiving donations, and the toys were not in good condition, so I refurbished them," Jandira recalls.
On December 18, Jandira sent 200 of these toys and 200 candy kits to Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA), where she also works as a volunteer. According to Elvira de Oliveira, ASA director of the Central Adventist Church in the city, the volunteer work was already something Jandira did before she became an Adventist, but it intensified even more after her baptism.
Jandira is part of a team of about 26 people who work all year round for the needy. "My life is so busy, but I am so happy to do this work and see the children's smiles," she says.
Besides the delivery of toys for the children, about 40 families that are assisted by the Mercadinho Solidário project, an ASA initiative, also received Christmas baskets. The bags were filled with panettones, cookies, condensed milk, and other goodies and essential items. The kit also contained hygiene and cleaning products—all this to make Christmas even more special.
Elvira says the little market opens once a month for people to choose and take items they need for free. She comments that the project started in May and every month has been a challenge to stock the shelves with donations. "Throughout the month, there's nothing, but when opening day comes, we manage to restock, often on the last day," she says, attributing the success of the project to God.
The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.