The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) New Zealand is working with a network of Seventh-day Adventist churches throughout the country to provide essentials to over 1000 Kiwi families in need.
During the level 4 lockdown in New Zealand, many non-essential workers lost either all or a percentage of their income. Many families have struggled throughout this time, but it has been especially difficult for families already living in poverty.
In response, ADRA NZ launched the “Love Thy Neighbour” campaign. This campaign encourages everyone to do something to show love to their neighbour, especially during a difficult time.
ADRA NZ worked alongside community champions in local churches to identify families in need and distribute food packs and grocery vouchers. Many of these community champions are either involved in community initiatives or have links to the community providing direct connections to these families in need.
Each pack that a family receives includes a contact number of their local pastor and a lead church representative with hopes of connecting again in the future. After two weeks, the families are given a second gift card to help them over a longer period of time.
“It’s been an amazing experience, I’ve been able to witness first-hand the gratitude that people have when receiving these gift cards and food packs,” shares Sally Lavea, ADRA NZ coordinator for national programs. “I’ve also been so encouraged and inspired by the passion and generosity of our volunteers, especially when some are affected themselves.”
All volunteers were provided with the appropriate PPE gear—gloves, face masks, sanitiser, and a safety manual providing relevant health and safety guidelines and recommendations to ensure the safety of those they were delivering to as well as their own safety.
“In one of the homes we visited during deliveries, we met with a mother who shared with us that it was her daughter’s birthday. It was special to see her face light up when she realised she would be able to buy her daughter a cake, along with other essentials needed at home,” shared one of the volunteers.
ADRA’s hope is that through this response, churches are encouraged to engage with the vulnerable in their community and create genuine connections to provide hope and encouragement during this challenging time. For individuals, it is hoped that everyone responds by showing love to a neighbour, whether it is through a kind word, a small gesture, or providing for someone’s needs.
ADRA will continue to distribute grocery gift cards and food packs to Kiwi families in need during level 3 lockdown in New Zealand.
If you would like to learn more about this response, or to donate, please visit www.adra.org.nz/love.