ADRA Colombia volunteers deliver bags of food to a needy family in Colombia last month, thanks to Adventist employees who donated a day of their salary to assist them. Hundreds of families in the South American country have been affected by the pandemic crisis and are struggling to provide the basic needs for their loved ones. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]

May 28, 2020 | Medellin, Colombia | Daniela Arrieta/IAD News Staff

Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist employees from throughout the church in Colombia recently donated one day of their salary to assist vulnerable families affected by the disruption of employment during the pandemic crisis. The appeal came for employees to voluntarily take part in what the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Colombia referred to as a humanitarian emergency in the country.

“In one of the meetings we had with ADRA leaders across the 17 conferences in the country, we proposed to appeal to church employees to donate one day of their salary, and the idea was well supported by all,” said Jair Flórez, ADRA Colombia director. Florez is in charge of the church’s humanitarian emergency technical committee.

The initiative was presented to both union presidents in the south and the north regions and the invitation was sent to employees to take part, explained Flórez. “Some not only donated one day but three days of their salary,” he added. “We didn’t have enough funds in ADRA to supply for the needs of so many families so that’s why we desperately appealed to church employees.”

An ADRA volunteer deliver goods to a woman in front of her home. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]

“This was a wonderful and most needed initiative,” said Pastor Edgar Redondo, president of the church in North Colombia. “Employees were willing to give from their heart to assist needy families,” he said. “I saw their joy in giving these resources and they know that the donation will supply all the needs to members and people in the community.”

“Most of the membership throughout Colombia works on its own and live day to day, so the income stopped once the quarantine was put into effect and affected their ability to support their families,” Redondo explained.

The church across Colombia has more than 1,200 employees across their unions, conferences, missions, and institutions.

Mario Ariza, ADRA director in the South Colombia Conference,  holds his sign affirming that he donated a day of work towards helping needy families across the country. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]

Employees posted photos with the hashtag #yodonoundiadesalario (#Idonateonedayofsalary).

Donations in April neared $15,000 US dollars from the special response to the initiative. The funds were distributed across the 17 local conferences and missions to go toward the most needy through the ADRA coordinating offices across the nation. ADRA then distributed the goods to hundreds of families in their communities.

The assistance distributed by ADRA Colombia went to help families in the community and in the church, leaders said.

“It was wonderful to see each one of the pastors and office staff open to help so many people,” said Pastor Juan Caicedo, president of the church in South Colombia.

A woman receives goods in her home during ADRA Colombia’s distribution in April 2020. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]

“I wish the world could also join in this type of initiative because it allows us to say that we are one in Christ Jesus.”

Days after the government declared the country on lockdown, ADRA Colombia appealed to church members to assist in providing food to hundreds of low income families in Cucuta, near the border of Venezuela, earlier in April.

Flórez said that the appeal has been extended to the entire church membership who are currently working and are able to donate a day of their salary so that ADRA Colombia can continue to provide more assistance to needy families.

A young man shows off his goods thanks to ADRA volunteers who wen by needy communities across Colombia with food to assist during the pandemic crisis. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]

To learn more about ADRA Colombia and its projects and initiatives, visit adracolombia.org

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