With the situation in Venezuela, my birth country, going from bad to worse, I wanted to share an update, express my emotions and a personal call for help.
Let me start off by saying I’ve been putting this off for a few days now. To actually sit here in front of my computer, with my thoughts, and uncontrollable tears is hard but it’s time. And I apologize in advance if it all sounds like a jumble of emotions. I am trying my best to make sense of it all.
As you may know, my family and I have been working to send aid to Venezuela for the last year. The country, where my family and I are from, has been going through an economic, political and humanitarian crisis. With the aid of donations made on our GoFundMe site as well as food/medical supply donations, we have been able to help feed countless families struggling to survive.
A few days ago the New York Times published an article about the worsening humanitarian crisis. Although it is painful to read, I urge you to try. And as confirmed by my family on the ground in the country, I can confirm that all of the horrifying details in this article are 100% true.
TO READ THE ARTICLE CLICK HERE: Children Are Dying of Hunger
by Meridith Kohut and Isayen Herrera.
Where do you even start with a title like that. As a mom, just reading such a title breaks my heart. My homeland, the place where I was born, the people I know, are starving. Hospitals are now overwhelmed by severely malnourished children. Babies are dying because mom’s can’t produce breast milk when they are themselves starving for food and cannot afford to buy or find formula.
Babies and children are dying. These words have been ringing in my head all week. With every meal I eat, with every meal I feed my toddler and with every bottle I feed my 4 month old. Those words keep ringing in my head.
Families are having to feed infants water with rice starch, chamomile tea or cows milk, if they can even find that. Older children and their parents eat out of dumpsters and go days without eating. Boys are joining gangs and girls are turning to prostitution, just to be able to get food.
How can a government deny and cover up the fact that people are dying and even worse, refuse international aid? How can human beings be so cruel to one another?
In the article, a mother weighing just 66 pounds is followed by her daughter for hours who simply begs for food. The only food in the entire house is half a bag of salt, and one lime.
“This is a nightmare,” said Ms. Merchán’s sister, Andreína del Valle Merchán, 25, describing how the children start to vomit, sweat and become sluggish after days of not eating. Her own 5-year-old daughter had lost 11 pounds this year and now weighed only 17 pounds, she said.*
I know Venezuela is not the only country in a crisis, and Venezuelans are not the only people in the world going hungry. But deep down, I know that all of this suffering is happening to my friends, my family and could have easily happened to me. Had we not moved to this country, I could have been that mom. That could have been my child.
As a parent, I can’t imagine what it feels like to be unable to feed my child and watch them starve. No one deserves this. Not a parent and certainly not an innocent child. I’m not going to lie when I say that the stories and images in this article shook me to my core. And so our mission to help Venezuela in any way possible is stronger than ever!
Why am I sharing this?
My goal with sharing this article is to ask for your help. In the spirit of the holidays and helping those less fortunate, I ask for your support. If you or anyone you know, would like to help feed a starving family, here are some way you can help:
- Make any donation big or small to our GoFundMe page. Every single dollar is used to buy food, baby formula and medical supplies which we then ship to Venezuela. So far 100% of the boxes shipped have arrived safely in the hands of families.
- If you would rather make food donations, one way you can do it is to order food and/orsupplies from places like Walmart (free shipping) and have it shipped directly to us. We will package it for you and have it shipped to Venezuela. Please email me directly at email@example.com for further information on where to ship the supplies.
- Share this article and our GoFundMe site with everyone you know. The more we can spread the word on this crisis, the more we can help.
For any questions on the company we use to ship boxes, items needed, information on our tiny operation, and/or anything else please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to answer questions or provide any help necessary.
Recently we received several large containers of baby formula, as well as food donations and medical supplies (latex gloves, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc) which we will be sending to 3 hospitals in dire need. Every contribution from $1 to 1 package of ramen is truly invaluable and DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
In additional to raising funds online, and collecting supplies from food drives held by friends, schools and kind strangers, my family and I are currently brainstorming other ways to help. How to raise more funds, how to get more food/baby formula/medical supplies and ultimately how to continue providing critical aid to so many hungry people. If you know of any group or organization will to help our cause, please reach out to me.
I know my blog is normally a happy place filled with good food, happy stories and cute baby photos but this is a mission that is so incredibly important to me. Thank you in advance for your thoughts, prayers, and support.
WE NEED EACH OTHER TO SURVIVE
For updates on the donations made thus far as well as updates on the situation in Venezuela, follow along on https://venehope.wordpress.com/ (A blog my family is maintaining to share updates.)
*All information and quotes from the New York Times article Venezuela Children Starving MERIDITH KOHUT and ISAYEN HERRERA Photographs by MERIDITH KOHUT Dec. 17, 2017.
Photo credit: Venezuela Children Starving