Caring Weston Mothers Call on Community to Help Babies in Venezuela

Karin Torres, Lisa Romano and Natalia Rodriguez consider themselves lucky. Their families were able to leave Venezuela before the economic collapse and resulting riots and food shortages. Now these Weston women are working together to help babies and children in their home country by collecting donations of infant formula for Venezuela’s tiniest victims.

“Venezuela is facing the worst crisis in its history. Hyperinflation and food scarcity have increased exponentially, while public services – especially the health system – are completely inefficient and incapable of attending to the needs of the people,” explains Karin Torres, who started Helping Kids in Venezuela with her friends. “Newborn babies are particularly suffering this harsh reality. Due to malnutrition and general poor health, many mothers are unable to breastfeed, or provide formula, and their babies are getting sick and even dying. By making formula available we are significantly improving the way these babies start their lives.”

To ensure the infant formula gets to those babies who need it most, Helping Kids in Venezuela works directly with Venezuelan doctors at some of the country’s biggest hospitals. Torres says the shipments are sent directly to the doctors, who are in charge of distributing them to those in greatest need.

To help fulfill the vast need for donations, Helping Kids in Venezuela has called upon the Weston community for support. AYSO 644 held a donation drive during a FIFA World Cup by Panini trading card event at Weston Regional Park, collecting enough infant formula to make 5,593 two-ounce newborn bottles, as well as basic baby items. In June, the Vacation Bible School at St. Paul Lutheran Church collected enough infant formula to fill 5,386 two-ounce bottles.

In addition, Torres says AirByUs has sponsored local domino tournaments to raise funds to cover shipping costs and MGV Cargo has provided special shipping prices.

Torres say she and the women of Helping Kids in Venezuela have been overwhelmed by the generosity of their new neighbors here in Weston. “It has been an amazing experience since Weston is a fabulous community filled with compassionate, caring, big-hearted people from all cultural backgrounds.”

She adds, “The Weston community has been outstanding in their support and has responded to each call we have made. They have helped spread the word so that each day our reach has expanded, our collections have grown, and people are approaching us to find out how they can help.”

For information on how you can help the cause, email [email protected]. Helping Kids in Venezuela is planning its next community collection drive after the start of the new school year.