January 23, 2021

As COVID-19 Surges, La Sierra University and ADRA Partner to Help

Iris Argueta, Adventist Development and Relief Agency

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has donated 500,000 masks to La Sierra University in Riverside, California, United States, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in nearby communities. Health officials report COVID-19 cases, and the death toll, continue to rise in southern California. Riverside County alone has confirmed more than 228,000 positive cases and 2,300 deaths since the beginning of 2021, and the numbers are expected to increase as the year unfolds.

“We are so privileged for our university and its students to be able to partner with ADRA in distributing greatly needed face masks to our communities in Riverside. Scores of people will be provided this very important tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19,”  John Thomas, dean of the La Sierra University Zapara School of Business and an ADRA board member, told ADRA.

“COVID has ravaged the southern California region, and in some areas, the California National Guard has dispatched medical personnel to aid with the influx of Covid patients at local hospitals, including those near our university. While vaccines are arriving and hope is on the horizon in terms of driving back this pandemic, face masks will continue to be needed during the coming months for the health and safety of everyone,” Thomas said.

La Sierra’s Zapara School of Business and students from the university’s Enactus program will coordinate the distribution of the half-million three-ply masks to churches, schools, and other establishments. ADRA’s humanitarian relief allies Partnership for Humanity, LIFT Non-Profit Logistics, and Global Specialty Services facilitated the donation to the university.

“We are so grateful to La Sierra University, its students, and our trusted partners for teaming up with ADRA to help communities cope in this unprecedented health crisis,” Mario Oliveira, director for emergency management at ADRA, said. “ADRA has been delivering life-saving supplies and resources to the most needed areas of the world since the pandemic began. In many instances, we have redirected our resources to support families here in the United States, because we know from health data that this country currently has the most coronavirus cases globally, and we’re not out of the woods yet.”

“LIFT is proud to have helped facilitate the delivery of these urgently needed 3-ply masks for the COVID-19 response,” Michael Rettig, director of LIFT and board member of Partnership for Humanity, said. “A special thank you to Larry Dunn, the CEO of Global Specialty Services, for making this donation to ADRA in support of those suffering from the effects of this global pandemic,” he added.

La Sierra University will also help to store more than one million masks for ADRA’s COVID-19 response overseas. ADRA expects to ship the face coverings to Latin American countries before the end of January 2021.

The original version of this story was posted by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.