Christmas for Venezuelan Refugees

Greetings, my name is Ellie Alter, I work for an organization called the Refugee and Immigrant Fund (RIF) , and I am organizing this campaign on behalf of a Venezuelan refugee family. I met Niurka, Hector, and their nine-year old son Samuel when they sought RIF’s assistance in New York in the Spring of 2017. Back home, Niurka and Hector were active members of their community: choosing to leave Venezuela, and their family and friends behind was no easy decision. And, their difficult journey was not over when they arrived to NYC, as the process of seeking asylum is long and arduous. But, Niurka and Hector did not wait until they were fully back on their feet before extending their assistance to others.

They quickly began mobilizing to support the growing community of Venezuelan refugees, as well as those who remain back home in dire straights. Niurka and Hector have already organized food and clothing drives and have begun providing critical guidance for fellow newcomers. This year, they have also collected much-needed medicines and sent them to Venezuela where the population is facing serious shortages.

Christmas is the most important holiday for the Venezuelan community. I am certain that many of us can relate to the loneliness brought on by being separated from loved ones during the holidays. Many Venezuelans have been forced to flee here with their young children, and so, the opportunity to gather together and celebrate would mean the world to them at this time of year.

Niurka and Hector envision a evening of music, traditional Venezuelan food, perhaps presents for the children, but most importantly: an event that would signal to this community that they are cared for, and that while they may be far away from their families and their homeland, there is a community here in New York that supports them. In the future, Niurka and Hector plan to establish an organization that would allow them to continue supporting and advocating for the Venezuelan community, so this event would also be an excellent platform to spread the word about their work.

The holiday event will also be open to New Yorkers, for the purposes stated above, but also, as Niurka has said, to “put faces where often just numbers exists.” Niurka and Hector are determined to raise awareness about the plight of Venezuelans back home and here in the United States, and this event is only the beginning.

If you are able, I invite you to rally beside Niurka and Hector to proclaim: REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE. We have been fortunate to secure the support of the First Presbyterian Church, which has agreed to host this event in their Great Hall on December 21st. The funds raised by this campaign will be used to purchase food, supplies, and to cover the cost of transportation, for those who cannot afford a metrocard to get to this event. Please consider pitching in what you can, and we welcome you to join us for the event.

In Solidarity,

Ellie Alter


Date: December 21, 2017
Time: 6-9pm
Address: First Presbyterian Church
12 W 12th Street

More about me! (For GoFundMe purposes!)
I was born and raised in New York City, where I currently reside. Niurka and Hector are clients of mine at the Refugee and Immigrant Fund.  The funds will be spent on basic event costs: food, supplies (plates, cups, cutlery), transportation for those who cannot afford a metrocard, and entertainment. I will withdraw the funds every two weeks leading up to the event on the 21st, and give them directly to Niurka and Hector for the purchase of the items listed above. Any remaining funds will go towards towards the purchase of additional metrocards which will be donated to the refugee community that Hector and Niurka serve.
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Ellie Alter 
New York, NY
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