Carmen kneels beside her baby’s coffin, adorning the wood with tiny white wings. The wings are a Venezuelan tradition, meant to symbolize a young child who has flown away to heaven far too soon. It’s a sight that is all too common in this country today as people die from starvation. After months without food, Carmen herself has withered away to the weight of a child, her bones visible. She is exhausted, but she has more children at home she must try to feed.
Venezuela is in the middle of a devastating hunger crisis. People are dying.
Venezuela was once considered the wealthiest country in South America, but its economy has been in a state of hyperinflation since 2014. The country is home to the world’s largest oil reserves, but when oil prices crashed, Venezuela was plunged into economic crisis.
And so, the Venezuelan food crisis began. The bolivar, the country’s currency, has rapidly depreciated while the cost of food has skyrocketed.
Now, four years into the hunger crisis, the streets of Venezuela are relatively quiet. But for a long time, violent riots broke out in the streets — with people desperately begging for food, for relief. Long lines stretched outside of grocery stores and markets as people frantically attempted to buy what little food was left. Many went away empty-handed. Some even ransacked local government storehouses.
Recently, the people of one community slaughtered a local farmer’s livestock in the middle of the night so they could eat. They had no other options. They were just so hungry.
Today, the Venezuelan people are still hungry — but now, there’s no food left to fight for.
Grocery stores in Venezuela sit quiet and empty. What little food remains costs more than most families can afford. A carton of eggs cost an entire month’s salary. A small package of sausages cost three times the monthly minimum wage. An average citizen could never earn enough to afford these prices. The hunger crisis is taking its toll on the Venezuelan people.
Still, they do what they can. They dig through the trash for scraps of food to ease their hunger. Mothers starve themselves while trying to feed their children whatever they can find — usually a mixture of cornstarch and water. This offers little relief for a hungry child. Can you imagine watching your child slowly, painfully fade away?
How you can help those affected by the Venezuelan food crisis
During a recent visit, our partner learned that many grown adults have lost up to 40 percent of their former body weight. As people lose weight and their bodies become nutrient deficient, they become susceptible to many painful diseases and physical complications. As a result, the Venezuelan people are hungry and in pain, with no relief in sight.
Many will die if they don’t receive food immediately.
But you can help. You can provide nutrient-rich meals for a Venezuelan in the midst of this hunger crisis. You can take part in saving a life.
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” — Isaiah 58:10, ESV.
For $14, you can provide one person with food and a hygiene kit for four weeks. The gift you are giving is practical and necessary for survival.
Although the Venezuelan food crisis has been going on for several years, it receives little media attention, and the people of Venezuela are forced to suffer in silence. Through your gift of emergency food, you remind them they have not been forgotten. You give one person hope for the future.
But we need to act now. Give what you can and help save a Venezuelan from hunger.