Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cesena, Emilia-Romagna in Italy expressed feelings of great satisfaction as they distributed proceeds from a fundraiser to Ukrainian refugees. The event, held September 25, 2022, was organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office in Italy.
The funds were collected on the occasion of ADRA Italia’s 21st Solidarity Celebration, leaders said.
Following the crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, the Cesena region has taken in and is hosting numerous refugees, especially mothers with school-age children. Thanks to the funds collected from various fundraising activities, private sponsors, and tax-exempt contributions, 52 Ukrainian children and teens received a voucher of 120 euros (about US$115) each. They will be able to spend that money at one of the city stationery and school supplies store that has signed an agreement as provider.
The fundraiser was held in a relaxed and festive atmosphere, with entertainers providing amusement for the kids. The chaplain for the local Ukrainian Greek Catholic community attended the event. He is deeply involved in spiritual care and ambulance dispatch to war-torn territories. In his speech, the chaplain emphasized the importance of supporting Ukrainian mothers, who are busy caring for two or three children alone, as they also try to find work. They need our solidarity “to feel the embrace of all of us citizens,” he said.
Carmelina Labruzzo, City of Cesena councillor for People and Family Services, also attended the event and sang along with the children in a featured musical selection.
“I hope that you can enjoy a wonderful and educational year, because school is the place where you grow up and fulfill your wishes,” Labruzzo said. She also highlighted the city’s commitment to the refugees in the area. “In our municipality alone, we have welcomed 241 minors.”
ADRA Italia also houses three families in apartments provided by the local Adventist church, leaders said.
Cesena Adventist community leaders took the opportunity to extend warm thanks to all who attended the Solidarity Celebration, ate meals and, thus, contributed to the fundraiser’s success. “It is our hope that we are able to find new opportunities to pursue other initiatives in support of those who most need that assistance,” they said.