The Venezuelan Association offers hot meals and medical examinations to the elderly in a district of Caracas
The Order of Malta’s Venezuelan Association, founded in the South American country in 1957, has inaugurated a hot-meal service for some thirty disadvantaged elderly people in Chacao, one of the five municipalities in the metropolitan district of Caracas.
“The principle of our mission is to acknowledge pain and alleviate people’s suffering,” said Gaspare Lavegas, president of the Venezuelan Association, expressing his gratitude for the human solidarity shown in the many initiatives that enabled the first stage of the programme – helping “our unfortunate brethren” – to be implemented. “We will continue by organizing a healthcare centre where the needy can be treated by doctors working with us”.
Addressing the elderly, the San José de Chacao parish priest, Reinaldo Gamez, reassured them about their future: “You are not alone, you are important and there are people who will take care of you. After all, it is the love of Christ that unites us. Let us pray that our family here today will grow and multiply”.
The Association will also organize a second stage of aid which, besides hot meals, will also offer healthcare to the elderly and it is appealing for donations and volunteers. But “it’s not only money that will ensure that our mission is achieved,” explained Gaspare Lavegas, “fraternity, spiritual reconciliation and above all individual cooperation are also necessary ”.
Venezuela’s economic, social and political crisis has forced many people to leave the country. Since September 2018, the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency, Malteser International, has been providing aid and healthcare to thousands of refugees on the Colombia border.