Anna Kresge United Methodist Church is hoping the community will provide blessings in an effort to aid the people of Venezuela during their longstanding hardships throughout the South American nation.
The church plans to send supplied they collected through the Lenten season that include food, medicine, medical supplies, vitamins and infant formula to the Wesley Medical Center in Cabudare in Venezuela, located southeast outside the city of Barquisimeto. The area alone is home to more than 880,000 people.
It's an effort needed to help the country of more than 31 million people who are in the middle of a growing crisis over rule of the country between strongman President Nicolás Maduro who still controls the government and military, and opposition President Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by many countries internationally as the legitimate ruler.
The political crisis is just the tip of the iceberg for the people of Venezuela, who have faced shortages of the basic necessities of life amid a collapsing economy and hyper-inflation. Which is now so bad that according to CNBC reports late last week, the country planned to issue new currency denominations starting at 10,000 bolivars up to 50,000 bolivars with the highest new note around the equivalent of $8.13.
That horrible inflation comes as economic output has dropped year over year in the past four years by double digit percentage points, and that people can no longer afford food and have caused serious depletion of nutrition rates within the country. So bad that some Venezuelans have reportedly lost 20 or more pounds in their weight and on average eat only a single meal daily. Contributing to malnutrition throughout the nation.
None of that is helped by a hospital system that has little or no medicine or supplies left to support the population, and buildings and equipment that are falling apart, the church said in a statement.
Conditions in Venezuela have forced some 2 million of its citizens to flee for help and safety in South American neighboring countries over the last two years.
"Despite all these problems, the evangelical church is growing faster than in any other country in the western hemisphere," Anna Kresge UMC organizers reported.
The hopes of Anna Kresge UMC members is to get supplies to the hospital without delay and provide much needed aid. They are asking for blessings from the community as a whole on a crate that will be packed and filled during the June 23 worship services coming up.
Anna Kresge UMC volunteers are sending the crate of supplies out on the following day, June 24.
"We ask the community to join our prayers for the safe transfer of the materials to those who need them and seek to help the people of Venezuela," Anna Kresge UMC organizers wrote in a statement.
Those who want to help ahead of their plans to ship off supplies can contact the church at 770-748-4308.