Over the past five years, congregations throughout the Pacific Union Conference have continued to show tremendous compassion toward the vulnerable, both responding to ongoing needs and providing targeted disaster relief through Adventist Community Services (ACS).
The regular services ACS provides for those in need include centers that supply clothes, food, computer access, and community gardens. Training sessions are designed to develop ministry leaders, provide credentials for volunteers, and equip emotional and spiritual care providers. Young people are invited into a life of service through Pathfinder Community Service honors. These activities help make our communities healthier and better places and show the love of Christ in action.
ACS is also ready to respond to disasters, both in the territory of the Pacific Union and beyond. Recent examples include the eruption of Kilauea in Hawaii, which destroyed 700 family homes; massive fires in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah, which burned 3.2 million acres over the past four years; the immigrant crisis on the southern United States border; and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the volcano and fires, ACS helped church members provide meals, along with emotional and spiritual care. Adventist facilities were used to distribute food and provide shelter, while donations of kitchen and cleaning supplies helped people begin to rebuild their lives. Immigrants entering the United States and housed at a shelter in Tijuana received thousands of blankets.
Personal protective equipment (PPE), along with other supplies worth more than four million dollars, were distributed throughout the territory of the Pacific Union in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including to nonprofits outside the church network. Every employee, church member, and student received a mask. Teachers were given the extra protection of shields, and hand sanitizer was provided to all community service operations. Adventist Health received truckloads of supplies for use in hospitals and clinics and assistance with COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
ACS also provided support in response to hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and disasters in other regions over the past five years, including Flint, Michigan, which suffered a long-standing water crisis. The Pacific Union is committed to supporting a wide array of community services initiatives that demonstrate God’s love and kindness to those in need.
Charlene Sargent is the director of Adventist Community Services for the Pacific Union Conference.