Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Australia is continuing to find innovative ways to serve local communities.
Community meals have now become takeaway, counseling services have moved online, and care packages, including toiletries, are being delivered to the most vulnerable.
In the midst of the chaos, people are finding refuge in the service of ADRA volunteers.
“People are all very anxious about what’s happening,” said Helen Hiscock, manager of Whyalla Op Shop and the emergency food pantry in South Australia. “Elderly people are coming to us because they’re too scared to go to the supermarket.”
In the state of Victoria alone, more than 7,000 takeaway containers have been organized and 1,000 care packages made. And, in some councils, ADRA has become the lead agency coordinating relief efforts.
“ADRA is well established in the community,” said Rebecca Auriant, Victorian Conference ADRA director. “We were there for them during the bushfires, and we are there with them through these challenging times.”
For those who are at risk of falling through the cracks, being able to rely on ADRA’s services is an incredible relief.
“It’s wonderful for ADRA to be helping those in need: the homeless, the needy, the disadvantaged, and the lonely, including people such as myself,” said Alfred, a Victorian resident who has been accessing emergency relief. “Thank you to ADRA for staying open. Even if it’s a takeaway meal, it all helps.”
ADRA projects overseas are also at the frontline of reducing the impact of COVID-19 in many remote and disadvantaged communities, while also preparing to help them restore livelihoods once the crisis has passed.
“Now, more than ever, the world needs collective action, selflessness, and compassion at a scale we’ve not seen before,” said ADRA Australia CEO Paul Rubessa. “By serving their communities, our volunteers are truly shining the light of Jesus to others.”