Food For The Poor Partners with U.S. Southern Command to Assist Venezuelan Migrants

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 10, 2018)  Food For The Poor is working with the United States Southern Command on a medical assistance mission to relieve pressure on host nation medical systems partly due to an increase in Venezuelan migrants and also to assist vulnerable communities.

U.S. Southern Command is dispatching a hospital ship – the Navy's USNS Comfort – to South America and Central America on Thursday, where it will conduct an 11-week medical assistance mission working closely with host-nation health and government partners in Colombia, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru.

The USNS Comfort is one of the largest trauma centers anywhere in the United States.

Brother's Brother Foundation and Gleaning For The World, two of Food For The Poor's partners, are donating items to the charity. Brother's Brother Foundation provided walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, baby items and personal hygiene kits. Gleaning For The World donated bottled water, backpacks, pens and stuffed animals. Food For The Poor is delivering the items to Norfolk, Va., where they will be placed on board the ship.

"We are very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to work with Food For The Poor to serve the people of Venezuela and others by providing wheelchairs, walkers, canes and other medical supplies for distribution," said Luke Hingson, president of Brother's Brother.

"We are grateful to get these supplies to all of God's children that need them and share the love of Christ through these items," said Mark O'Brien, warehouse manager for Gleaning For The World.

"For the children to be able to have something like school supplies or a stuffed animal, especially when they may not have anything, we're showing them that somebody is valuing them," O'Brien added.

An estimated 3 million Venezuelans have fled their country due to shortages of food and medical supplies caused by the economic crisis. More than 1 million of those migrants have settled in neighboring Colombia. In addition to Colombia, the USNS Comfort also will visit ports in Honduras, Ecuador and Peru.

"With so much happening in the world today, it's easy to forget about the economic crisis in Venezuela and the thousands of people and children who are suffering," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood. "The people crossing from Venezuela into Colombia, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru are in desperate need of assistance. Our gospel mandate is to serve the needs of the poor and the suffering. It is what we are called to do."

U.S. Southern Command is responsible for military operations within Latin America and the Caribbean, and has a Public Private Cooperation Program that works to build partnerships for humanitarian and disaster relief actions. Food For The Poor serves 17 countries in the same region, providing relief and development programs to millions of the destitute poor.

The Enduring Promise mission marks the sixth time the hospital will provide medical assistance in the region.

"This mission is a symbol of what can be accomplished when partners work together to aid people in need," said U.S. Navy Adm. Kurt Tidd, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment. "Because this mission is humanitarian in nature, it will focus on the people we're assisting, on the nations we're partnering with, and on the region we're supporting together."

Food For The Poor and U.S. Southern Command have worked together for many years.

In the past, the two entities cooperated on a project to deliver much-needed school furniture to the Dominican Republic. The very young and the very elderly served by Food For The Poor in Haiti also received medical treatment as part of the USNS Comfort's deployment in Haiti, and six other countries during a four-month humanitarian mission in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054