VENEZUELA (BP) — Baptist Global Response (BGR) is organizing relief efforts to help starving families trapped in Venezuela’s current economic crisis.
The country’s economic output is expected to shrink by 15 percent this year, which would be the third consecutive year it has decreased by double digits, Forbes.com reported. And inflation has reportedly grown from 112 percent in 2015 to 2,400 percent last year. In 2018, it’s expected to hit five-digits.
Brian Ehrenheim*, an International Mission Board worker based in Colombia, has talked with several Venezuelan believers while organizing a relief project in collaboration with BGR. In a Skype interview, he said the situation has become dire, and he’s heard reports of desperate need. Life has become difficult for both young and old across all economic classes.
“Healthy babies are dying of malnutrition,” he said. “It’s not because they have any diseases or sicknesses or anything like that. It’s just that they don’t have formula. They don’t have food. They’re just dying of starvation and malnutrition.”
Ehrenheim’s project will provide boxes of food staples such as beans, meat, and cheese, along with hygiene and cleaning products, to families in need. The funds for the project will come from Global Hunger Relief, a Southern Baptist initiative formerly known as the World Hunger Fund. BGR, a Southern Baptist humanitarian aid organization, will facilitate the project. And, the resulting aid will help alleviate at least some of the need in a country, Ehrenheim noted, where a carton of 30 eggs now costs about two-thirds of an average person’s monthly salary.
The project, he hopes, will also help prevent Venezuelans from taking desperate measures to provide for their families.
“To get food or whatever money [they] can, people are resorting to things that, I imagine, they wouldn’t normally do — specifically drug-trafficking and prostitution,” Ehrenheim said.
The good news, he said, is that local believers are still caring for their communities, despite the hardships their own families face. Many are maintaining aid programs as best they can, and they’re demonstrating God’s love whenever possible.
But, they need support and prayer. BGR asks Southern Baptists to pray for Venezuela as it faces hunger and desperation and to pray for the believers who strive to share God’s hope in the midst of turmoil.
Those who wish to help in other ways can learn more at gobgr.org/venezuela. While BGR is not an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, it does heartily promote and endorse the SBC’s Cooperative Program. BGR’s partnership with Southern Baptists in meeting global human needs is fundamentally undergirded by those who give through their local churches to the Cooperative Program and to the Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief fund.