Fighting hunger in Venezuela with a smile

Annier Portillo decided not to stand idly by in the face of the crisis that Venezuela is experiencing and did everything possible to combat malnutrition in children and the elderly.

2017 was hard for Venezuelans. The serious crisis that Venezuela was going through (and that today has worsened) caused long lines to buy basic food or medicine. Many people were forced to emigrate. Those who remained faced, among the many consequences of the situation, malnutrition. Annie Portillo is a mother and suffered seeing children and elderly people go hungry, the most vulnerable sector of the population. It was then that she decided to mobilize and, with the support of the Augustinian Recollects, to somehow feed the people around her who had no food to put in their mouths.

Together with several faithful who, like her, frequently went to the parish of St. Pius X of the Augustinian Recollects, Annier started a solidarity pot that at the beginning fed 60 people, especially children and the elderly. “Now we assist more than 350 brothers who benefit from this pot”, she tells in a report in They did not have economic or material help. “We dedicated ourselves in the masses to ask for the collaboration of each one of the parishioners so that they could contribute with vegetables, rice, proteins and other ingredients”, he says.

With everything they receive, they make the soup, the food they offer. Even they come from other areas of Caracas, such as Caricuao, Petare, Antímano and Chacao. They all offer a plate of food. Annier is only unhappy about one thing: they can only offer meals two days a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. Although she wants to extend the frequency of her help, she always shows a smile, which denotes her desire to help. “In my mind and surely in my brothers’, there is the satisfaction that each of these men, women and children in vulnerable situations that day will be able to take some food home and will not sleep with an empty stomach,” she says.

Material and spiritual food

“But it’s not just a cup of soup,” he warns. They also offer medicines, clothes and most importantly: “The word of God, the spiritual food, while receiving its material benefits”. This work, like all the work done by the Augustinian Recollect family in the country, has the support of ARCORES Venezuela. Annier Portillo feels happy and proud of the “great family” that has been formed “to help those who need it most”.

COVID-19 has worsened the already difficult situation in Venezuela. More families are going hungry, more people have been affected and have even died from the pandemic. But solidarity always wins out: “The community has continued to provide its helping hand and the food that is needed to make the food.

Behind all this there is no personal interest but the desire to help those people who, like Jesus, suffer in their daily lives. “I can see the suffering face of Christ in each of my brothers in need,” he says. That’s why they call her “sister”. Annier explains: “We are all brothers for Christ. That’s what I call them too: brothers.