Praying on her knees, Tatiane de Oliveira Araújo felt desperate. It was April 24, 2020, and Tatiane, 37, has just been released from prison after seven months. She arrived at an empty house with no food amid a raging pandemic.
It was a day Tatiane will never forget. Her small town of Engenheiro Coelho, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, had already gone into lockdown. But it was around 4:00 p.m. on that day when Adventist Social Action volunteer Simone Di Giaimo became God’s answer to Tatiane’s plight with a food delivery. Now she would be able to take care of herself, as well as a cousin’s son and a pregnant daughter-in-law living under her roof.
The assistance Tatiane received in April 2020 is part of several Easter Adventist Social Action initiatives by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil, which looks to ease the hardships so many people experienced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Simone and her husband, Roberto, had been delivering food baskets and vegetables for some time. But in 2020, they felt they had to step up their efforts, especially after the initial lockdown in March. On the day Tatiane was praying, the Adventist couple had 120 food baskets ready to deliver. “We had just a few left when we arrived at Tatiane’s house. She’s a warrior,” Simone said.
Tatiane gets emotional when she remembers how meaningful that day was in her life. “I didn’t have a single morsel to eat or money to purchase food,” she recalled. As a way of acknowledging how blessed she has been, now she is also involved in helping others.
Upcoming 2021 Drive
Adventist Social Action leaders in Brazil announced that the annual drive around the Easter season is returning this year, a ray of light among so much sad news. Leaders reported that across South America in 2020, Adventist social initiatives served more than 1.6 million people by distributing 4 million kilograms (more than 8.8 million pounds) of food. Much of this amount results from volunteer-driven direct initiatives targeting people like Tatiane.
The latest Easter initiative has a very simple logic, according to leaders. “With Easter approaching and in the face of a pandemic with devastating effects, the best gift we can give to the vulnerable and needy is food, clothing, blood donation, support visits, and prayers,” South American coordinator Herbert Boger Jr. explained.
Herbert shared that organizers have set a goal of an average of 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of food donated by each person involved in the initiative. The current drive is expected to extend until three weeks after Easter weekend, he said.