Over three months, volunteers from the Helping Hands program in Brazil, including members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the country, joined forces to cut, sew, pack and distribute more than 3 million reusable face masks.
From north and south Brazil, Helping Hands to Save Lives project participants dedicated their time, talent, and resources to meet the request of the Brazil Area Presidency, which, in April, challenged Saints to mobilize nationally.
The initiative is part of a global effort by the Church of Jesus Christ to support actions to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Volunteers of all ages joined forces in the relief effort.
Letícia de Souza, a 9-year-old volunteer from Marília, São Paulo, helped produce 4,000 masks, which were donated in her city.
“It was a very good experience to be able to help the people who need it most, because that is what the Savior would do,” said de Souza.
“It makes people feel more loved,” she added. The young volunteer expressed her desire to participate in additional service opportunities.
Alex Sandro Martins dos Santos, a 43-year-old Church leader of the Castanhal Latter-day Saint congregation, participated in making more than 7,000 masks, which were distributed in four surrounding cities. “Church members, adults, children, youth, families, and friends of the Church participated in the project and this brought a very strong feeling of unity. We can see people giving their time and talents on behalf of this noble cause, and in doing so, anxiety, fear, and doubt have given way to peace and hope,” said dos Santos.
“At this time, we are seeing that when we are at the service of our neighbor, we are only at the service of our God,” he said.
The masks were made by more than 20,000 Latter-day Saints and over 200 friends of the faith who heard about the project and reached out to help.
Such was the case with Marieta Sogari Picoloto, a volunteer seamstress from Pelotas.
“For a long time, I have wanted to do volunteer work and help people in need. I am very happy and pleased to be able to help others with my sewing skills. If each one does a little bit, together we can get out of this very difficult moment. I thank the Church for trusting me and allowing me to help. I’m working to produce more and more masks.”
Another volunteer seamstress, Aparecida Moreno from Ribeirão Preto, shared her enthusiasm for helping.
“In addition to being able to help people, I felt very useful sewing, because I was idle at home. It was very edifying,” she said.
“I felt that I will help someone to protect themselves against this disease. I am grateful to be part of this labor of love,” said 14-year-old Camilly Varjão, who lives in the same city.
The face masks were distributed to underprivileged families, charities, and governmental health and support agencies that help underprivileged groups.
Beehive Clothing Factory Donates 600,000 Masks to São Paulo’s State Government
In early July, Beehive Clothing, the Church’s clothing factory, delivered the last shipment of masks to São Paulo’s state social development secretary. The shipment included more than 600,000 units. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the factory’s original operations were suspended, but after a request from the government, a team of 32 professionals resumed activities to manufacture the protective items for families in need.
The Church’s factories in Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, the Philippines and the United States changed their operations to make masks and personal protective gear. The facilities in all locations temporarily stopped manufacturing religious clothing to make face masks and (in Utah only) hospital gowns to help health care professionals and communities in need.
Press release by Notícias da Igreja de Jesus Cristo
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