It has been just over a year since the first confirmed Canadian case of COVID-19 was reported by Health Canada on January 25, 2020, and words like lockdown, isolation, and quarantine have become commonplace. We complain about the things we miss: the restaurants, hair appointments, shopping and yes, church gatherings. But for many Canadians, the effects of COVID-19 were far more severe.

ADRA COVID Response in Canada Food

For Mathias, life became much harder. Mathias lives in Igloolik in the territory of Nunavut. Igloolik has a population of 1,682, a median age of 20 years, a boil water advisory, and only two retail/grocery stores. Non-perishable food supplies arrive by cargo ship once a year. All other supplies must be flown in; an expensive proposition that takes weeks. And that was before COVID-19.

Unable to afford repairs to his home, Mathias has been living without running water for five years. One winter, he was unable to pay for fuel to heat the house one winter. Many homeowners in Igloolik have similar problems. The high cost of food, fuel, and electricity, makes it difficult to keep up.

Partnering with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada, and Adventist Community Services – North American Division, ADRA began a response immediately after the start of the first lockdown. In Igloolik, nine ADRA volunteers provided bags of frozen berries, soap, and $100 food vouchers to 50 needy families in Igloolik, including Mathias. He also received a refrigerator as he didn’t have one.

Mathias has started attending church programs. “I didn’t know that this was happening in Igloolik. I really enjoy the singing. It really brings me happiness. One day I would like to visit the church down south.”

Almost 2,700 kilometres due south, another team works to fill and deliver grocery orders. As part of their COVID-19 response project, the Montreal Luso-Brazilian Seventh-day Adventist Church designed an online form to reach the vulnerable within their community. Little did they know that their efforts would reach halfway around the world. Rodrigo Schammass, the volunteer project manager for the team, wrote:

“We had a family from São Paulo, Brazil, contact us after we published an advertisement on Facebook. The woman thought our project was to assist families in Brazil and filled our web form. Once we realized that she lived in Brazil, we contacted the local pastor near her home to attend to her request (emotional support). We talked to him, and he was so glad to help.”

Because of a simple act of kindness, one lonely woman is now connected to a church and a community. She attends services and is engaged in Bible study. Across Canada, 9,132 volunteers undertook thirty-three projects involving forty-three churches and organizations and touched almost 35,000 lives.

As COVID-19 continues to negatively affect Canada, there is still much work to do. Thankfully, the Spirit of God is always working, moving on hearts to meet needs and answer prayers.