ST. CLOUD, Fla. — Elizabeth Vuilleumier left her home country of Venezuela 10 years ago, when things were a lot different from the turmoil the country is experiencing now.
- 'Caminos de Esperanza' collects donations for Venezuelan families
- Donations go towards families crossing to Venezuela-Colombia border
- Donations are being collected Saturday in Central Fla., Tampa & Miami
- SEE BELOW:
Now, Vuilleumier is doing her part to help the growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela through collecting donations for a cause called “Caminos de Esperenza.”
Due to the crisis, thousands of Venezuelans are crossing the border into Colombia, trying to start a new life. They're literally walking out of Venezuela and crossing the border by foot.
At St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Cloud, Vuilleumier is sorting out donations for Venezuelans seeking refuge. Sweaters, rain jackets, shoes, and over-the-counter medications are some of the things that can be donated.
Vuilleumier felt inspired to lend a hand after watching a video called “Caminos de Esperanza” (Walks of Hope), where fellow Venezuelan Nelson Bustamante went to the border of Venezuela and Colombia to film interviews with the folks walking for hope.
“For one person to take his family and walk away from your own country without food, without water, not knowing where you are going to sleep, and not knowing what you’re going to see or find in other countries … It’s because they’re looking for new opportunities, they're looking for a place to be safe, a place where they can build their dreams,” Bustamante explained.
Vuilleumier hopes the community will come together Saturday at drop-off locations, where donations — for Venezuelan families in need of help at the Venezuela-Colombia border — will be accepted all day, not just in St. Cloud, but also in Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.
All donations will be taken in by the Colombian Red Cross.
Venues hosting ‘Caminos De Esperanza’ (donation drop off locations) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday:
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church
700 Brown Chapel Road St. Cloud FL 34769
8117 Vineland Avenue Orlando, FL 32821
Festival Park (Casa Venezuela)
2911 E. Robinson Street Orlando, FL 32803
1991 Drew Street Clearwater, FL 33765
Restaurante La Teresita
3248 W. Columbus Dr. Tampa, FL 33607
2734 University Suare Dr. Tampa, FL 33614
El Perdigon Del Sabor
8548 N Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33604
Nico's Arepas Grill
8303 North Armenia Dr. Tampa, FL 33604
Al Lopez Park
4810 N Himes Ave. Tampa, FL 33614
Items you can donate:
- Shoes (closed and open like Crocs)
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Female sanitary napkins
- Eye drops
- Sun screen (mini)
- Toilet paper
- Toothpaste (mini)
- Deodorant (mini)
- Baby’s formula
- Canned Tuna
- Canned sausages
- Protein bars
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
For monetary donations:
San Vincente De Paul Guadalupe Conference
Reference: Caminos De Esperanza
Chase Bank Account Number 445307510
To volunteer, email CaminosDeEsperanzaUSA@gmail.com
For more information, follow the cause on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caminosdeesperanzausa