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Why Maria felt sorry for the men who robbed her



  • September 24, 2018
April Stumme

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When robbers broke into her house and threatened her, Maria felt sorry for them.

She knew they were frantically searching for food and money. She understood because she was starving, too.

Maria lives in Venezuela, home to the largest refugee crisis in the Western Hemisphere. The country’s economy has collapsed — shrinking by half in the past five years — causing a massive food crisis. Nearly 4 million people have already chosen to leave the country rather than starve.

The situation has become so severe that doctors are being discouraged from listing “starvation” as the cause of death on children’s death certificates. The true number of hunger-related deaths, if it were public knowledge, would be staggering.

Refugees from Venezuela and around the world are desperate. But there is something you can do. For just $35, you can provide $189 worth of lifesaving food, clean water, medicine, and more to one refugee.

Refugees from Venezuela and around the world are desperate. But there is something you can do. For just $35, you can provide $189 worth of lifesaving food, clean water, medicine, and more to one refugee.

It was this desperation that led the robbers to break into Maria’s house.

Maria was still in bed, lying beside her daughter, when the thieves came crashing into the room. They screamed at her to give them all the money she had. And they threatened to kill her and her daughter if she didn’t tell them where her money was.

But no matter how loud or threatening they were, Maria couldn’t give them anything. She could only explain that her monthly paycheck was so small that she it didn’t even feed her family for a week. Her voice shaking, she asked them how she could be saving money if she didn’t even make enough to feed her daughter.

Maria, whose name we’ve changed for her safety, wasn’t lying. Everyone in Venezuela has felt the effects of the economic crisis. The country’s currency has become so devalued that even when the official minimum wage was raised 3,500 percent, it still equaled only $30 per month. Now, even though Maria and her husband both work, they are regularly forced to go to bed with empty stomachs.

The robbers weren’t happy, but they left Maria’s house without harming her or her daughter. Still, she knew they could be back anytime. So Maria and her husband decided they would flee. They hated the idea of becoming refugees and leaving their home and possessions behind. But Maria knew that if they didn’t run, they were putting their daughter’s life in danger.

Maria and her family aren’t alone. Many Venezuelans have become refugees due to the poverty that has swept the nation.

Medicine is so scarce that diseases that were once unheard of — such as diphtheria and measles — are making a comeback. And because of the astronomical food prices, more than 1.3 million of those who have fled Venezuela are suffering from malnutrition.

But as refugees flee, they are finding that many displacement camps are also lacking critical supplies.

In Uganda, Syria, and many other places affected by the global refugee crisis, the greatest needs are the same: emergency food, clean water, and medical care.

You can provide these necessities and more.

Your $35 gift right now will meet the most urgent needs of one refugee. And thanks to generous corporate donations and grants, your $35 multiplies to provide $189 worth of lifesaving supplies.

Your gift will help a refugee like Maria find peace and stability in a chaotic time. You can help someone facing starvation or life-threatening medical conditions survive.

Maria is hopeful that Venezuela will recover and will become a safe place to live again. But until then, she, her family — and many others around the world — need your help. Please give and provide one refugee with essential aid. You can save a life today.

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