ADRA Colombia

ADRA Colombia distributes food to hundreds of vulnerable families

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Members of the Adventist Rescue Team GARSA assist during the food distribution by ADRA Colombia in Cúcuta, Colombia, from April 4 to April 14, 2020. Dozens of Adventists donated crops and other food to help vulnerable families affected by unemployment brought on by the pandemic. [Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

April 21, 2020 | ADRA Colombia Press.

Seventh-day Adventists in northern Colombia gathered their crops, resources, and consumer goods to donate to hundreds of the most needy families in Cúcuta, a city with many low-income families near the border with Venezuela. Over nine tons of food were collected and distributed to benefit 500 families from April 4 to April 14, 2020. This initiative was coordinated by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Colombia.

Many of the crop donations came from church members across the country who own farmland, local leaders said. Other donations and financial funds from ADRA were part of the resources used.

“We were very glad that church members from the Arauca municipal district sent so many products they grow to help others in extreme need,” said César Saldarriaga, ADRA coordinator in the northeastern region in Cúcuta.

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An ADRA volunteer delivers food to a person in need in Cúcuta. [Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

to benefit needy communities throughout the country, in conjunction with government efforts, said that a recent government survey showed that between November 2019 and January 2020, 46.6 percent of people living in 23 cities and metropolitan areas live day-to-day with street sales, as revealed by this survey.

“We know that these statistics include many church members and the general public who require humanitarian support, especially during the isolation measures recently imposed by the national government,” said Director Flórez.

Director Flórez explained that at the beginning of last month, the Adventist Church established a special commission of 15 people to deal with the health emergency and monitor responses to the development of the pandemic throughout the country.

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An ADRA Colombia volunteer holds a bag of donated bananas from a church member's harvest for needy families in Cúcuta, Colombia. [Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

“Since the virus impacted Colombia, the government has issued about 37 guidelines for the distribution of resources, and our plan is to follow them in order to protect the population and the church members,” he added.

Using protective equipment, ADRA volunteers distribute food, essential items, food vouchers or coupons to redeem at local supermarkets, as well as cash donations.

Pastor Mauricio Buitrago, director of health ministry for the church in northern Colombia, thanked the members who joined together to bless others during the pandemic. “We give honor and praise to God because He has provided the resources so that we can help more families in this time of need,” he said. “We are here to help others.”

Under the slogan of the “Stay at Home” Project, ADRA Colombia plans to continue appealing to brotherhood to collaborate in helping needy families in the coming weeks.

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Church member volunteers group items to fill food bags for over 500 needy families in Cúcuta, Colombia. [Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

“We know that this emergency will last a long time, and the church is prepared for it,” said Director Flórez. “We are committed to ADRA and the church to continue seeking resources to support the most vulnerable families.”