Arizona Adventists Create Thousands of “Bags of Love” for Children and More News Shorts

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In this week’s news roundup, Arizona Adventists create thousands of “bags of love” for needy children, the Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist church joins 30 other congregations to advocate for affordable housing, a Charleston, South Carolina volunteer spearheads community improvements, and Adventist youth in Zimbabwe march against drug abuse.

Arizona Adventist Church Members Create Thousands of "Bags of Love." Arizonan Janice Krein and a group of women at the Apache Junction Seventh-day Adventist Church meet every Monday to make "bags of love" for children they will never see and never be able to meet. The women make bags filled with a homemade blanket, stuffed animals, personal items and a signed note from every single volunteer. So far they have made and packaged more than 2,000 love bags. "It's a need that just breaks your heart when you realize just what these children are having to go through," said Leona Kuhn, a volunteer at the church. The kids are in situations that are so unsafe they are often abruptly taken from their homes. They are often abused and neglected so that the Arizona Department of Child Safety steps in. "They don't have time to pack a bag," said Rayetta Sanchez with DCS. From ABC15 Arizona, “Apache Junction group making "bags of love" for children they'll never meet.”

Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist Church and 30 Other Congregations Advocate for Affordable Housing. Daniel Xisto, pastor of the Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist Church, joined the interfaith coalition of nearly 30 congregations in the Charlottesville area, advocating for the development of more affordable housing in the community. Following the voting process, the coalition chose housing issues over addressing impoverished conditions for immigrants and access to health care. Xisto said he was moved by the testimony of an elderly woman who said she has struggled to pay rent in her basement apartment. “To know that we had a grandmother in our midst who is having a hard time paying her bills and who has to walk a lot to get to her home, it’s really sad to me,” Xisto said. Xisto said most of the followers in his congregation were hoping to focus on assisting the immigrant community after bringing that issue forward. “Although that’s where most of our stories came from, there are people in our congregation that do have housing needs,” he said. “I’m glad we’re going to be able to research this and see how we can make a difference.” From Daily Progress, “Faith groups vote to focus on affordable housing.”

Charleston Volunteer Spearheads Community Improvements. Tanang Williams, Dorchester Waylyn Neighborhood Association president, has made it her mission to improve things in Charleston, South Carolina, to instill a sense of ownership and pride. She has spent several years spearheading cleanup days, peace weeks, and an after-school program for kids. She balks at the assumption that only bad things happen in the Waylyn. She is tired of shootings and drug deals taking center stage. "I've met a lot of wonderful people that live here. They're hardworking," she said. Crime happens everywhere, she explained. "It’s how you react to it." Williams holds some community meetings and activities at the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church. From Post and Courier, “Neighborhood leader works to instill pride in community with reputation for crime.”

Zimbabwe Youth March Against Drug Misuse. Hundreds of Zimbabwe youth from the Chitungwiza Federation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church marched against rampant drug misuse by young people within their community. Justice Bennet Hlahla, the Seventh-day Adventist Chitungwiza Youth Federation president, said the awareness campaign was needed to ensure that the church played a role in addressing some of the social challenges affecting people, especially the youth.“We realize that we cannot totally eradicate drug misuse, but we can educate each other so that youths are capacitated with the information to make informed choices,” he said. From News Day, “SDA youths march against drug abuse.”

 

Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Redlands, California.

Image Credit: ABC15 Arizona / Video Still

 

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