Help Carmen Feed & House Refugees from Venezuela

Carmen Carcelén lives in Juncal, a town of less than 2,500 people on the Colombia-Ecuador border, a transit point for refugees traveling by foot for thousands of miles.

One night in 2017, she invited 11 beleaguered Venezuelan migrants into her home for a meal and a decent night's sleep. From there, word of Carmen's impromptu shelter spread on hand-written notes along the migrant route all the way back to Venezuela.
Hi. My name is Joanne Jennings. I've been a producer of public media for more than twenty years. I've traveled all over the world, producing news and feature stories, and have met many memorable people along the way.  Every once in a while, I come across someone who inspires me to do more than merely tell their story. 
I am now executive producer of a radio program and podcast called WorldAffairs, so I’m not currently out in the field reporting, but my  colleagues recently brought a story to me about Carmen, a truly extraordinary woman. 

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Carmen has continued providing food and housing for migrants passing through Juncal, serving more than 10,000 people so far. She treats their blistered feet, cooks for them, provides a warm, safe, dry bedwhile offering entertainment for the children, and making sure they feel appreciated.
Carmen runs the shelter mostly on the small income that her husband makes selling fruit and vegetables at the city market, with occasional help from community volunteers and small donations.
We first heard of Carmen's story through Kimberley Brown, a freelance journalist living in Quito. She wrote about Carmen’s improbable shelter back in 2019 for Al Jazeera. Her reporting was the basis for WorldAffairs’ August program, In Carmen’s Hands which you can listen to here and by clicking on the YouTube video below.
Many of our listeners were as touched by Carmen's story as I was and wrote asking how they can help -- so that is why I've started this GoFundMe campaign.

Your donations will go directly to Carmen
to help her buy food, mattresses, toilets, and pay water and electricity bills. The money will be deposited to my bank account and I will wire it directly to Carmen.
If you are as inspired by Carmen's story as much as I am, please consider making a donation of any size and sharing this campaign with your friends and family. Any amount will make a big difference to Carmen and the people she serves.

Thank you.
Photos courtesy of Jonatan Rosas .
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Joanne Elgart Jennings 
San Francisco, CA

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