The country of Venezuela is experiencing what some have called "Economic Armageddon" and we are calling upon anyone and everyone to help the people who are stuck there starving and suffering.
For many years now the situation has been worsening and to date its become a total nightmare. Due to the hyper-inflation of the local currency, is getting harder and harder for people to afford food. Basic necessities like feminine products, diapers and medicine are scarce and their prices are unimaginable when you can find them. Eggs have become a more powerful monetary unit than money. Today on the street 1 US dollar exchanges for 2,000,000 Bolívares. Someone holding a “good professional job” makes around 700,000 BsF a month. To give you perspective - that is just about what it costs for 1 Kg of ham and a dozen eggs - hardly enough food for 1 person (let alone a family) to survive on for a month. Over a third of the country eats only one meal a day and in order to get your rations from the government you must be a Maduro (current president) supporter. It's been nicknamed the "Maduro Diet" and it's killing people. The hyperinflation of their currency is making survival more challenging every day; in the last three months it has gone from 230,000BsF to $1 to 2,000,000BsF to $1 on the black market.
My family and I have been sending goods and money for years now as the situation has been declining for some time but now there are so many in need we just can't keep up by ourselves.
Currently there are $2,000 worth of goods in a shipping container that was supposed to be shipped this week but is now stuck in Miami. Our friend from Venezuela, who is responsible for importing the container, was the victim of a kidnapping and had to spend all his dollars he had saved to pay for the container along with jewelry and a car to get his girlfriend released from the people who had kidnapped her just this week. He is one of a very small percentage of people there who still has a decent income by Venezuelan standards (the average person makes less than $5 US a month) but has by no means the ability to quickly come up with the money necessary to ship the container. So as it sits in Miami it continues to incur storage fees and obviously the goods aren't getting to those in need.
We are asking for anyone who feels compelled to help us fund the shipment of this container to its destination to please do so. Our friend is refusing financial help but we need to get things moving. Any money repaid by him or donated in excess of our shipping expenses will be distributed through our friends in the country to those who are hungry and in need of medicine or medical care. We are currently sending monthly installments to our close friends who are in turn buying food and medicine and distributing it to families in need. With the money I have been sending, my friends purchase food staples in bulk (pasta, corn meal, eggs, beans, rice, cheese, etc) and prepare bags of food to take to people in need. Last month, they paid for a round of antibiotics for a neighborhood girl that was fighting an infection but her family didn't have the money to pay for the meds. My brother, Jesse and his wife Elizabeth, helped fund a foot surgery for a 9 year old girl that was born with a condition that created malformation of her bones. The surgery needed to be performed before she reached a certain point in her growth. We accomplished that with only $250. An additional $250 was given to the family to ease the burden of missed work and also so they could travel with her to the capital and stay there with her during her surgery and recovery - totaling 2 weeks. These are the different ways that we have relieved some of the suffering in Venezuela.
As many of you know, I have lived in Venezuela and it holds a special place in my heart. Everything I do throughout my daily routine here in the United States reminds me of how fortunate we are to have the life we have. My guilty pleasure of a Starbucks coffee could provide the equivalent of 5 months salary to someone in Venezuela. Kind of hard for me to enjoy that coffee some days.
We are working towards forming a non-profit organization to establish long term assistance, but in the meantime, we hope you will consider donating through this platform so we can extend our reach to more people needing our help in Venezuela. The funds that we raise will be used to pay for food and medicines or medical care for people that we know personally or through our network of personal contacts. We are currently sending money through a mutual friend of ours who has a bank account here in the US and also a bank account in Venezuela; due to the fact that no money transfer company is currently sending money remittances to Venezuela, this has been the most effective way to get them the money. This friend is the same person that is shipping the container for us.
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