Adventist Development and Relief Agency, also known as ADRA, is a worldwide humanitarian organization. ADRA focuses on specific areas of impact. Some of them include economic opportunities, health, hunger, disaster relief and social justice. They operate in more than 100 countries and work with governments and communities to bring assistance to those in need. One of their offices is in Florence, Italy.
While many businesses and organizations during this time are shutting down, ADRA is just getting started.
Italy is a hot spot for tourism. A year of closed borders has greatly impacted the livelihood of many Italians. Since most businesses make their money from visitors, working-class families are struggling to put food on the table.
“The other day we were contacted by a family that hasn’t had work for a whole year,” said Dag Pontvik, the country director of ADRA in Italy. “They only had a few last things in their fridge to eat. Those people that are not used to asking for help are coming out and recognizing we cannot do it by ourselves.”
Every Thursday and Saturday, ADRA distributes food to those in need. They work in collaboration with food banks in the area to provide quality products to their community. Every month they serve more than 1,000 people.
“There has been two groups, the normal ones and the people affected by COVID that make up that number,” said Pontvik.
ADRA’s food distribution event has become quite popular among locals. Social workers and government officials frequently send people ADRA’s way. Appointments must be made in advance in order to keep social distancing measures in place. Individuals must wait in line outside while the volunteers fill their bags with products such as pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, fruits and cheeses. Those waiting in line can also browse through piles of free clothes at their disposal.
This nonprofit hopes to bring people to Christ by serving others in need. ADRA also uses this outlet to form personal connections with their communities and create real friendships. “We are trying to be there to provide support but also with emotional care by listening and encouraging. We want to make them feel important and listen to their stories,” said Pontvik.
This nonprofit relies on donations to continue their missions. If you’d like to contribute to the food distribution outlet, visit adraitalia.org to give any amount.