By APD Switzerland and Adventist Review staff
Seventh-day Adventists in Switzerland and Austria are working to bring holiday cheer and alleviate poverty for some of the least-fortunate in the European nations of Moldova, Latvia, and Albania.
Working through national branches of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, ADRA, church members have prepared gift parcels for underprivileged children in both nations.
Children in 50 Seventh-day Adventist congregations in Switzerland helped prepare 3,213 parcels
Children in 50 Seventh-day Adventist congregations in Switzerland helped prepare 3,213 parcels, which left the Alpine nation on November 23 via train as Christmas gifts for Moldova's children. The effort, titled “Children Help Children,” is now in its fifth year, according to Sibylle Schuppli, ADRA Switzerland's communication director. ADRA Moldova distributes the parcels when they arrive in the eastern European nation, which is one of the continent's poorest lands.
Recipients of the parcels include children in orphanages, disabled children, and those in underprivileged families. ADRA Moldavia receives requests for parcels from government entities, local schools, and its own network of contacts.
Although the parcels recently left Switzerland, it will be a few weeks before the children get to open them. Orthodox Christianity is the majority religion in Moldova, and this branch of Christianity will celebrate Christmas on January 6 and 7, 2017, following the "old calendar" also known as the Gregorian calendar.
Separately, Seventh-day Adventists in Austria sent 3,528 parcels to Albania at the end of November, according to Corinna Wagner, ADRA Austria communication director. Another 2,500 parcels are expected to go to Latvia on December 6.
Globally, ADRA has helped alleviate human suffering for 60 years
Working with a number of local schools, the Deutschlandsberg Seventh-day Adventist Church, prepared 1,046 parcels, working closely with a number of local schools. The city of Deutschlandsberg is located in southern Austria, near the border with Slovenia, and is approximately 22 miles (35 km) south of Graz, Austria.
Globally, ADRA has helped alleviate human suffering for 60 years. The organization was initially established in 1956 as the Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service or SAWS, the name was changed to Seventh-day Adventist World Service in 1973. In 1984, the organization was renamed Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and in 1997, it was granted General Consultative Status by the United Nations, the highest status given to nongovernmental organizations. Today, 6,000 ADRA staff and volunteers help meet human need in 130 countries.