June 5 marked three years since the Diocese of Cúcuta, Colombia opened its Divine Providence House of Transit in response to the thousands of Venezuelan migrants streaming into Colombia.
In those three years, the charitable ministry has provided more than 3.5 million meals to needy people fleeing the economic, political and social crisis in Venezuela.
In a June 5 statement, the diocese said the Transit House “is a work of charity that arose from the desire to help our brother migrants from Venezuela and Colombians returning home” due to the crisis in Venezuela. The ministry is located just a few blocks from the bridge and highway that join the two countries.
Since Nicolas Maduro succeeded Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela in 2013, the country has been marred by violence and social upheaval. Under the socialist government, the country has seen hyperinflation and severe shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities, and millions have emigrated.
Colombia has been a major destination for Venezuelans fleeing their homes.
The Diocese of Cúcuta has been serving the migrants through the Divine Providence House of Transit in addition to eight parish soup kitchens. From its beginning, the Transit House has provided ongoing spiritual support, balanced meals, and medical care, as well as free medicine, psycho-sociological care and legal aid with the support of volunteer professionals.
During its first year, with the support of individuals and organizations, the ministry provided 421,400 lunches, serving 1,500 migrants daily. In the second year, the figure rose to 1,500,000 meals between lunches, breakfasts and other food, serving 5,000 people daily, with priority given to children, pregnant women and older adults.
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Story courtesy of CNA.
An elderly Colombian refugee being carried by Colombian National Police across the Táchira Riverfrom Venezuela into Colombia, in 2015. Colombia is a frequent route for Venezuelan migrants. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)