The community ties inspire former residents of Venezuela to reach out to her hometown

Anyely Boren arrived in Steamboat Springs from Venezuela in November 2017, but she still has a deep connection to her hometown – where people today struggle to find basic necessities like nutritious food, comfortable clothing and essential medicines.

Last year, Boren, along with a cousin and her friend, started collecting lightly used items that they could send back to their home country to help the community.

“Every day we are fortunate to witness the incredible blessings our own beloved families receive,” Boren said. “They are provided with the basic necessities of life such as nutritious food, comfortable clothing and essential medicines. As we entered the year 2023, we all came together with a common purpose to try to determine how we could contribute to alleviating the crisis that has struck our beloved nation, using the resources we already had at our disposal. ‘

This time, Boren said the group hopes to expand their efforts by reaching the Steamboat Springs community Thursday during a fundraising event, Send Love to Venezuela, to be held at Sundance Health Zone, 425 Anglers Drive, Suite D.

“One of our clients, who is from Venezuela, has had her own small fundraiser for a while, but now she wants to go big,” said Metta Smith, owner of Sundance Health Zone. “We said, ‘Okay, you can use our place so that people can bring donations of clothing, medical supplies, toothbrushes, feminine products and things like that that are needed in Venezuela.’

That event will take place Thursday and Boren is asking the community to drop off items from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There will also be a shake and tea party from 6pm to 8pm

The group is asking for basic care items such as children’s clothing (both new and used), toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as bottles, diapers, Desitin ointment, baby Tylenol, baby food (Gerber Puree chicken, turkey and variety pack), PediaSure powder, shampoo and soup. The group would also accept allergy medications and personal hygiene items for adults. Boren added that the group is also accepting cash, checks or Venmo donations to cover the cost of shipping the items to a friend, who will distribute the items in the community of Las Gonzales in Mérida, Venezuela.

“Through this process, we had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend who lived in our hometown,” Boren said. “We were delighted to discover that she was already actively involved in helping the local community. We were inspired by her selflessness and decided to embark on a joint mission to provide relief to those in need. We started collecting boxes filled with clothes that our families no longer needed and sent them to those who would benefit greatly from their warmth and comfort.”

Boren, along with others from Venezuela, has also launched an effort to prepare and distribute food to the children living in the community, and to promote community dinners for residents.

“The situation there is really bad, and it’s getting worse and worse,” Boren said. “It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard for people to find good food and have access to foods like chicken and other meats. A prominent problem we identified was the alarming lack of a balanced diet among children. We are deeply saddened to learn that countless mothers and children were suffering from anemia, mainly due to inadequate protein intake.”

Last year, Boren, along with a relative in Pennsylvania and a friend still living in Venezuela, began collecting the clothes their children had outgrown, personal care items and food. This year, along with the support of a group of women from the Steamboat Christian Center, the women hope to offer more.

“It’s super sad, you know,” Boren said of not having food on the table. “It’s something you shouldn’t worry about – you should be worrying about other things, like, I want this video game, or I want this toy. You never have to worry about what you’re going to eat; that should be something you should eat every day.”

John F. Russell is the business reporter at Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.