It’s normal for any bride to experience jitters before the big day. Sarah Davila just couldn’t shake that uneasy feeling.
“It was just too hard to ignore,” she remembers. “It kept coming up during the planning, trying to pay for the wedding stuff. Finally, we just had to do something.”
It wasn’t her upcoming nuptials or her husband-to-be that was troubling Davila, but something happening nearly 2,000 miles away — the food crisis in Venezuela.
Davila’s fiancé, Andres Aranguibel, was born in Venezuela, grew up in Florida and has relatives in the South American country. “My husband-to-be’s family is directly impacted, so it’s hard not to pay attention to it,” says Davila, whose family is from Cuba.
Amid a severe economic crisis, the Venezuelan people are facing severe food shortages and violence. Long accustomed to living in one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations, many Venezuelans have been shocked by seeing more and more people eating from the trash. Some have even taken more desperate measures.
“We kept seeing articles that show just how much our Venezuelan friends are suffering,” Davila explains. “One article described children so desperate for food that they were hunting flamingos and anteaters just to get by. That article was the final push we needed.”
The couple reached out to the team at Feeding Children Everywhere, which donated ingredients for 30,000 meals and helped the couple plan a Venezuela Hunger Project. An article in El Sentinel reported on the couple’s efforts, and people quickly signed up to help — including the Venezuelan Student Association at the University of Central Florida, which collected diapers, baby formula and non-perishable items to send along with the meals.
“We’re still a little bit speechless at how everything came together and at the response from the community,” Davila says. “The Venezuelan community is growing in Central Florida. They know what’s going on firsthand, and they want to help as much as they can.”
Saturday was a big day of another kind for Davila and Aranguibel, as joyful volunteers gathered at Feeding Children Everywhere’s headquarters to pack 30,000 life-saving meals for the people of Venezuela. Those meals are already on their way and will be distributed by the Miami-based organization Sun.Risas to these Venezuelans.
“If everyone puts in a grain of sand, it can turn into a mountain,” Davila concludes. “It was just incredible and humbling to see people from all walks of life doing their part.”Do Your Part