In Brazil, Adventist Volunteers Help City Residents After Record-Setting Flood

Residents receive food baskets, mattresses, and help to remove mud from their homes.

Paulo Ribeiro, South American Division, and Adventist Review
In Brazil, Adventist Volunteers Help City Residents After Record-Setting Flood
On November 24, employees of the Blumenau Adventist College loaded food into a truck to be sent to Rio do Sul, a city severely affected by recent flooding. [Photo: courtesy of Rio do Sul Adventist Church]

Rio do Sul was one of the cities most impacted by the recent rains in the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil. According to city estimates, 6,500 homes were affected, forcing almost 19,000 residents to leave their homes, and 24 out of the 25 city neighborhoods were flooded.

The Itajaí-Açu River reached its second highest mark in history, flooding hundreds of homes, businesses, schools, and churches. Some buildings ended up completely under water.

Faced with such a catastrophic scenario, assistance initiatives became essential. Several entities, both public and private, joined forces to alleviate the suffering of the affected population.

Food from the Christmas Task Force

Blumenau Adventist College is one of those institutions. The school contributed about nine tons (8.1 tonnes) of food. The collection took place through a scavenger hunt involving students, employees, and parents during the Christmas Task Force campaign.

This campaign is in its fourth season at the school. It started a few weeks ago and has already collected more than 20 tons of food. Annually, the items are directed to entities managed by the city, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), and Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA).

Fábio Correa, a pastor who is director of Adventist Solidarity Action in southern Brazil, accompanied the school’s drive on Friday to send the items to Rio do Sul, praising all those involved in the campaign and emphasizing the importance of engaging in humanitarian initiatives.

According to Jobson Santos, vice principal of Blumenau Adventist College, this year’s goal is to reach more than 40 tons (36 tonnes). He shared that parents, students, and employees are very enthusiastic about the drive.

Some businesses and companies, impressed by the school’s initiative, also joined the project. Recently, the city’s professional basketball team joined the campaign, encouraging fans to bring a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of non-perishable food during the state championship final.

At the same time, this year’s Christmas Task Force campaign at Blumenau Adventist College concluded on December 3 with a solidarity drive-through that got the community involved.

In addition to the assistance from Blumenau Adventist College, ADRA Santa Catarina is actively involved in Rio do Sul. The organization sent 200 mattresses, 450 cleaning kits, and mobilized 70 volunteers to remove mud from homes. The task force also includes local congregants who work in various church departments.

On Saturday morning, volunteers toured the flood-affected neighborhoods distributing donations, offering to help clean up homes, and sharing a message of comfort and hope. Due to the high level of the Itajaí-Açu River, both the local Adventist church and school were affected by the flood. As the waters recede from the church and the school, the facilities are serving as a support point for volunteers to help the affected population, leaders said.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.

Paulo Ribeiro, South American Division, and Adventist Review