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Student group raises hundreds of dollars to help Venezuela

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Posted at 5:50 AM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 06:50:00-04

WACO, TX — A Baylor University student group raised hundreds of dollars to send medical supplies to Venezuela.

The country's food and medicine supply is scarce and expensive as Venezuela is dealing with the world's largest inflation.

Critics blame the country's collapse on two decades of the socialist revolution damaged by corruption and mismanagement.

Baylor's Latino Pre-Health Student Association hosted a shoe drive, during which it collected 1,200 pairs. A nonprofit group called Funds2Orgs will give students money in exchange of the shoes.

According to the nonprofit, the new or gently used shoes are repurposed, providing an economic lifeline to families in developing countries.

Latino Pre-Health Student Association President and Founder Giana Rodriguez said the money raised will be sent to Houston-based nonprofit Cuatro Por Venezuela. The group will buy medical supplies and ship them to that country within the next month.

"We had a lot of people reach out to us and want to help, people we don't even know or had contact with. It was really cool for people to come together for such an amazing cause," Rodriguez said.

With the help of her family and their parish in Austin, Baylor student Andrea Alvarado donated 210 pairs of shoes to help the cause.

"I'm Venezuelan. I'm always trying to help out others because I know the situation they are going through right now is not the best and is terrible," Alvarado said.

She said the crisis affected her family first hand.

"Most of my first cousins on my mom's side within the last two years two of my cousins were not eating. They couldn't eat so they were losing a lot of weight, " Alvarado said.

The United Nations estimated as many as three million Venezuelans have left the country since 2014.

The nursing student said helping those in need is important.

"It's personal because of a family but giving back to a community that needs it the most is always important," said Alvarado. "I'm in a better position than they are so giving shoes to them, it's nothing."

The Baylor Latino Pre-Health Student Association also hosted a danceathon on Friday, during which they raised $500.

They will send the money from both fundraisers to Cuatro Por Venezuela.