Church donating key provisions to ease COVID-19 suffering in Brazil

The COVID-19 pandemic is exacting a dire toll in Brazil, claiming more than 400,000 lives.

In response to the crisis being felt across that vast South American nation, the Church is donating oxygen, medical supplies and food.

On Friday, May 14, the Church announced plans to provide $5.8 million worth of oxygen in the Amazon region, medical supplies to hospitals across the nation and enough food to feed about a million Brazilians, according to Newsroom.

In the northeastern state of Bahia, the Church recently delivered 60,000 food baskets in the state’s capital of Salvador. The distribution was discussed in a meeting with Salvadoran Mayor Bruno Reis, other government officials and the Church’s Brazil Area presidency — including Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella and Elder Joni L. Koch, both General Authority Seventies.

“Our main objective is to bring a little relief and love to people and families who are currently without food,” Elder Parella said when talking about the basic food donations.

“It is undoubtedly a very welcome help,” Reis said. “We have done everything to bring food to the table of people who are in need, and such help is very significant.”

The 60,000 baskets will be distributed with the help of the municipal secretary for social assistance, racial equality and citizenship.

During their meeting, they discussed a few key aspects of the Church. Invitations were also extended to the mayor and other government officials to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the future Salvador Brazil Temple, scheduled for August.

“Mayor, among other things, the Church builds temples around the world, with purposes similar to the temples described in the Bible in the Old Testament,” said Elder Koch. “And it is with joy that we would like to inform you that a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ will be built here in Salvador.”

Reis received a booklet with a computerized image of the facade of the Salvador Brazil Temple, with photos and details about other temples around the world.

“A construction like this will create jobs and make our city even more beautiful,” the mayor said. “I’m happy that a temple like this will be built here.”

Earlier this week, the Brazil Area Presidency met with Gov. Eduardo Leite of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. The governor noted the importance of their meeting, as Newsroom reported.

From left, Elder Joni L. Koch and Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella of the Brazil Area Presidency discuss Church humanitarian donation with Governor Eduardo Leite of Brazil's state of Rio Grande do Sul.
From left, Elder Joni L. Koch and Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella of the Brazil Area Presidency discuss Church humanitarian donation with Governor Eduardo Leite of Brazil’s state of Rio Grande do Sul. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“I am very happy with your visit,” he said. “I know that the first role of the Church is to relieve sad hearts, to carry a message of hope and faith. I respect and admire your Church.”

The Church is donating 70,000 basic food baskets to Rio Grande do Sul to help those affected by the pandemic. 

“It is a very substantial aid. I am touched. Thank you very much for the generosity of the Church,” Leite said.

Elder Koch said the Church has exercised caution and care in resuming its gatherings, following all health protocols under the direction of the state government. Most Church members, he said, have participated in Church worship through online meetings. Leite thanked the Church for emphasizing safety.

The governor invited the state’s head of the Military House and state coordinator for civil protection and defense, Col. Júlio César Rocha Lopes, to meet with Elders Parrella and Koch. 

The colonel is ensuring that the food baskets reach residents of the state.

The Church donated an additional 50,000 food baskets on May 1 to support “Band Contra a Fome,” a project in the state of São Paulo.

And more food is on the way to other areas of Brazil. In total, the Church will donate more than 320,000 food baskets, according to Newsroom