Every two weeks, or more often if the need arises, Seventh-day Adventist church members in southern Brazil meet with their local congregation for an activity utterly different than their regular worship. Members of the Xanxerê Seventh-day Adventist Church in Xanxerê, Santa Catarina, have recently launched a ministry to make and distribute adult diapers to nearby families in need.
The initiative, called Diapers of Care, kicked off in March 2021 and so far has resulted in more than 800 items produced, local church leaders said. Now the group is planning to ramp up production to serve more people in the area.
“We start by making 50 pieces a month, but then we survey and respond to the people’s needs,” Agenor Gonzaga Jr., one of the members behind the initiative, said.
The service provided by the Adventist congregation to the 52,000-resident town of Xanxerê has been critical to improving the quality of life of people in wheelchairs, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Families are selected according to their needs, initiative coordinators said. “We go to visit people at their place, check out what their needs are, and then make donations,” Gonzaga explained.
Volunteers use a diaper-making machine, acquired with resources from Ingathering. Ingathering is an Adventist-driven initiative that historically has engaged church members in fundraising for social projects.
Gleuder Andrade, a pastor and regional director of Adventist Social Action (ASA), said there is no doubt in his mind about the impact of the diaper-making initiative. “Many families will be reached and blessed through the work of the Xanxerê volunteers,” he said.
So far, the materials to make the diapers have been purchased thanks to donations by two local Adventist churches. As the project increases production, coordinators say, they will look for additional supporters.
Experience in Caring
Even though the city-wide adult diaper initiative is new, church volunteers have worked in a similar endeavor for several years now, leaders said. Since 2017, they had been helping to make diapers on a machine at a local nursing home. Before that, Adventist volunteers had been assisting those facilities with other outreach initiatives.
The nursing home managers eventually asked the Adventist church members if they would like to take over the facility’s diaper production. Church volunteers jumped at the opportunity and now are being a blessing to people in need, leaders said.