Hunger, skyrocketing unemployment rates, a lack of basic necessities, and escalating gang violence have become commonplace in Venezuela, with the crisis growing. According to the International Monetary Fund, Venezuela’s rate of inflation is estimated to reach 1 million percent by the end of 2018.
Amidst the crisis, Jesucristo Resucitado mission in Ciudad Guayana ministers to over 60,000 people, providing vital assistance through a soup kitchen, medical clinic, and much-needed spiritual support via the sacraments and parish activities. Fr. Greg Schaffer, a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis who has been Pastor of Jesucriso Resucitado for the past 20 years, sent the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation, which helps fund the mission, the following update:
“The political and economic situations are very volatile throughout the country. Where the mission is located, it costs nearly one months’ wages (minimum wage) to buy one chicken for a family to eat. Such basic goods as shampoo, toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, soap and washing detergent are very hard to find. Many people are struggling to survive. In the most extreme circumstances people are surviving just on the mangoes that fall from the trees.
With the help of the funds from the Catholic Services Appeal, we can sustain our outreach programs, including:
- A Parish Soup Kitchen that provides lunches for 65 people Monday through Friday, including orphans, the elderly, and families with several children.
- School Assistance to approximately 30 families per month (help with school costs such as tuition, uniforms, books and supplies, etc.).
- The Parish Medical Clinic that sees an average of 5-10 patients per day.
- An Emergency Assistance Program that benefits over 40 people per month via funding for food, medical needs, and funeral costs.
- The parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Conference that serves the poorest of the poor. Approximately 20 young people in our parish gather each Saturday to visit their neighbors most in need and help provide them with food, medicine and medical supplies, and hygiene items as available.
In these difficult times in Venezuela, funds from the Catholic Services Appeal are making a difference.”