January 7, 2022

More Than Half a Million Pounds of Food for Families in Need

Network of Brazilian Adventist entrepreneurs is serving the least of these.

Charlise Alves, South American Division, and Adventist Review

Inside the simple house with mud walls someone lit the flame on the stove. Damiana Soares dos Santos, of the Solidarity Hands Project coordinated by the Federation of Adventist Entrepreneurs in Bahia, Brazil, arrived unannounced to visit the humble home of one of the families benefited by a food-distribution initiative in 2021.

The Adventist volunteer noticed that only one egg was cooking in the pan and found that the food would be divided among four people. Scenes like this are not uncommon, volunteers said. In moments like this, the Adventist-driven NGO is stepping up to assist families in need and alleviate suffering.

The Solidarity Hands Project includes five social programs, and among them is Solidarity Food Baskets.

In northern Brazil, the Metropolitan Region in Salvador is known for its world-famous beaches. Despite being a tourist destination, however, part of the population suffers from poverty and hunger. The Solidarity Food Baskets program gained more strength during the COVID-19 pandemic. The board of the Federation of Adventist Entrepreneurs in Bahia decided to invest more in purchasing basic food baskets because it became aware of how much some families needed the food.

According to Antônio Miguel de Almeida Silva, vice president of the organization in Bahia, volunteers have distributed 16,734 basic food baskets, for a total of about 233 tons (513,677 pounds) of food. Coordinators said that the initiative benefited 67,000 people living in Bahia and surrounding communities. The program required getting scores of volunteers on board.

From Estimates to the Table

The initiative involves much more than just purchasing the food baskets and delivering them. Silva said that sometimes he spends up to three days getting the best possible price. Then he has to buy the food, get a truck to pick it up, assemble the baskets, and finally reach the homes of those in need.

To accomplish all this, he enlists the help of other volunteers such as Damiana. In addition to visiting homes, she helps distribute food baskets and offers Bible studies to families. “It’s a wonderful project because there are a lot of people starving. One example is the family that is studying the Bible with me. They were the ones frying one egg for four people,” she said.

The basic food baskets include 14 kilograms (31 pounds) of rice, beans, flour, pasta, milk, vegetable protein, oil, and oats. “Only those who need such a basic food basket know its real value,” Silva said.

Silva has been a volunteer for more than 20 years. “I find it very gratifying to help people who are socially vulnerable,” he said. 

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

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