By Rosa Camargo
When a child suffers from severe malnutrition between 0 and 5 years old, their physical and mental development is affected to the point that they will never be able to recover.
This is the situation of millions of children in Venezuela, where it is estimated that more than 15% of children have delays in their growth and development.
In the community of Petare, one slum in the middle of the capital Caracas where the Jesus Christ King of Peace Church of the Association of Evangelical Churches of the Caribbean operates, families subsist on the little they can get daily. Most of the inhabitants are workers who lost their jobs due to the economic crisis that the country is going through. Many of them complete their diet with what they collect from the garbage.
The Sunday School teachers began noticing that children fell asleep during classes. In extreme cases, they even fainted due to hunger. The parents also became increasingly thin and were weakened by hunger. Consequently, the parents began to migrate to other countries, leaving children with grandparents or a family member.
Added to the problem of hunger was the closure of schools due to the lack of resources from the Venezuelan state to pay teachers or cover operating costs. This placed the child population at serious risks, not only nutritionally, but also put them at risk of not having training for their future. The church also takes care of these children’s emotional recovery.
Although the church does not manage many resources, Pastor Ramiro Beleño and the leaders committed to looking for resources to provide a meal for the families after Sunday School. Meanwhile, they prayed for more resources to help the children. This is how God put Pastor Hernán Bravo in contact with a foundation in Spain that agreed to finance a soup kitchen for 50 children in the community. Today, the church’s children in Petare have regained their vitality and smile by receiving a nutritious meal every day of the week.
Likewise, Pastor Hernan Bravo and this foundation supported for 3 years a soup kitchen program for 200 children in Maracaibo. Thanks to this program, these 200 children were prevented from falling into severe malnutrition, and today, they are developing normally.
We thank God for his support and blessing. Please pray that this program can continue for a few more years and that we can prevent the children of the church from falling into severe malnutrition.