Food For The Poor Partners with U.S. Southern Command to Deliver Medical Equipment
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 27, 2019) Food For The Poor is working with the United States Southern Command to aid the increasing number of Venezuelan refugees and assist other vulnerable communities in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
The Navy's hospital ship – the USNS Comfort – departed Port Miami last week on a five-month medical mission to provide care in partner nation communities as well as to treat migrants and refugees who have fled their country due to political instability and lack of food and access to medical care.
The ship will work closely with host-nation health and government partners in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, Saint Lucia and St. Kitts, and Nevis.
Food For The Poor is donating 120 walkers and 36 wheelchairs to assist in the mission through its partner, Brother's Brother Foundation.
A team from Food For The Poor visited the ship in Miami last week before its departure.
"We are called by Christ to help our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. The people we serve will continue to benefit under this great partnership with the United States Southern Command," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood. "These walkers and wheelchairs will be a blessing to many lives."
USSOUTHCOM 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 geographic area, providing relief and development programs to millions of the poor.
From October to December 2018, the USNS Comfort completed its sixth deployment, an 11-week deployment for medical support to Colombia, Honduras, Peru and Ecuador, helping more than 26,700 patients in need, including nearly 600 onboard surgeries.
For that mission, Brother's Brother Foundation donated walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, baby items and personal hygiene kits to Food For The Poor. Gleaning For The World, another Food For The Poor partner, donated bottled water, backpacks, pens and stuffed animals. Food For The Poor delivered the items to Norfolk, Va., where they were placed on board the ship.
An estimated 4 million Venezuelans have fled their country as its economy has collapsed, according to news reports. More than 1 million have settled in neighboring Colombia in what has been called the region's worst humanitarian crisis in decades.
The USNS Comfort is one of the largest trauma centers anywhere in the United States.
"Comfort medical teams will be working alongside host nation medical professionals who are absorbing thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees," said U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of USSOUTHCOM, which will oversee the deployment.
"The Venezuelan people are desperately fleeing their homeland for hope of a better way of life. We are committed to finding ways to support the Venezuelan people and our regional partners," Faller said.
During the past decade, Food For The Poor and USSOUTHCOM have cooperated on numerous projects, such as delivering much-needed school furniture to the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, and providing books and shoes to children in Guatemala. 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.
Read more about how Food For The Poor is providing critical aid to Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia: www.foodforthepoor.org/venezuelaaid
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, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned or abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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