Food For The Poor, Minuto de Dios Join Forces to Aid Venezuelan Migrants

Carmen and her two daughters, Cielo,1, and Falete, 11, are homeless in the streets of Colombia. Carmen, a former school teacher, fled Venezuela due to an economic crisis where she could no longer afford to feed her daughters and migrated to Colombia in hopes for better opportunities. Photo/Food For The Poor

Food For The Poor is partnering with Minuto de Dios, a Colombian nonprofit organization, to bring relief to families in Colombia, including tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have fled to escape shortages of food, water and medicine.

As many as 30,000 a people a day from Venezuela pass through the Colombian border city of Cucuta. Some only stay for a day to buy food and medicine and then return to Venezuela. Others remain homeless on the streets or continue on foot to look for opportunities elsewhere in Colombia or other countries.

“Venezuela is not a country to which we have needed to send aid before, it is a country of extreme natural wealth, and yet, its people are starving,” said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. “Venezuela’s neighbor, the nation of Colombia, despite its own economic fragility, has welcomed these refugees seeking asylum from their countries and their troubles. How could we ignore this situation?” 

A Food For The Poor team recently visited Colombia to see the face of the growing crisis and met Carmen, a 27-year-old mother and elementary school teacher who sold everything she owned to migrate to Colombia with her daughters, Falete, 11, and Cielo, 1. 

Carmen left Venezuela because she could no longer afford to feed her family on a meager teacher’s salary less than $9 a month, not even enough to buy a dozen eggs. They were forced to drink from the river because there was no clean water where they lived.

Home, now, is a concrete sidewalk near a feeding center run by the Catholic Diocese of Cucuta. There, they can receive breakfast and lunch, including MannaPack rice casserole meals 

“I can’t believe you have to flee your country because of hunger and lack of medicines,” Carmen said. 

Dr. Alonso Ortiz, Executive Director of Minuto de Dios, said more than 4 million Venezuelans such as Carmen and her two daughters, have fled their country as its economy has collapsed.

More than 1 million have settled in Colombia and nearly a quarter of them are homeless.

To help Venezuelan migrant families in Colombia, go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/crisis.

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