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Cause of the Month | Helping the Children of Venezuela

by Sica Schmitz | Posted on December 30 2016

Helping Venezuela

As you know, each month we Give Back a portion of each sale to help a different, wonderful charity. And since it's a fresh new year, we're doing something a little differently (freshly?) this month. 

In 2015 we hosted our first Fair Trade Fashion Show Fundraiser and one of the many beautiful models who volunteered to strut the runway in our artisan-made fashions was Claudia Serven. She volunteered again for our 2016 Fair Trade Fashion Show Fundraiser and consistently proves that the only thing prettier than her face is her heart.

Recently she reached out to me (and many others) with a simple request: would I be willing to donate some much needed medical supplies to the children in her home country of Venezuela? Of course the answer was yes. And now I would like to involve you, our amazing Bead & Reel community. This month we will be Giving Back a portion of each sale to help Claudia collect everything from bandages to eye drops to multivitamins for the children of her hometown. 

Venezuela is in a crisis. And one woman decided that she wasn't going to wait for the government or nonprofits or outside organizations to help: she was going to do what she could, right now. This is the very heart of Bead & Reel, the very essence of the women who shop with us, support us, and are a part of us.

We're so excited to share what Claudia is doing, and show how we can all be a part of saving children's lives.

Claudia Serven Fair Trade Fashion Show

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, CLAUDIA

I am an artist from a small city called Maracay in Venezuela. My passions are dancing and acting, that's what brought me to the United States with my husband who is a Music composer. Since I was a kid I wanted to share my art with others, make people laugh, make people happy. I like to express what I feel and tell a story through my performances. I love to hep people, support them, embrace them. Art is a very fulfilling way to do it. 

WHAT IS THE CRISIS IN VENEZUELA? 

There's a government induced economic meltdown which has resulted in skyrocketing inflation and widespread shortage of basic food staples and medication. Even hospitals lack the basic supplies to treat children and the government is unwilling to do anything about it, or to accept international relief. 

"Despite its immense oil wealth, the country is in the midst of devastating economic, social and health crises. It has the world’s steepest economic decline, the second highest murder rate and the sharpest-rising inflation" ~ Jonathan Watts

WHAT MEDICAL SUPPLIES ARE YOU COLLECTING?

  • Kid's cold medicine: for pain, fever, cold, cough, soar throat, mucus
  • Children's Antiseptics and Wound Cleaners: Neosporin for children, antiseptic wash, antibiotic ointment, wound cleaners, pain relief, antibacterial bandages, antiseptics bandages
  • Children upset stomach relief: for stomach ache, gas, colic, nauseas, diarrhea, indigestion, probiotics, parasites
  • Kid's Multivitamins and supplements (we need all the vitamins, the multivitamins are better): nutritional shakes, nutritional supplements, fiber gummy for kids
  • Children's anti itch medicine: cortizone, anti itch creams lotions or gels, eczema cream
  • Allergy medicine for children: for any kind of allergy! (for example Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl...)
  • Eyes, Ears and Nasal drops for kids: kids ear relief drops, saline spray drops for kids, eyes relief drops for children
  • Baby and kids personal care products: children's toothpaste, children's toothbrush, baby bar soap, Baby moisturizing lotion, healing balm, hand sanitizer, diaper rash cream

Medicine Jars

WHERE ARE THE SUPPLIES BEING SENT?

The supplies are being sent mostly to Maracay, Venezuela. We're planing to equip the infirmary of some schools in Maracay and a school for children of low resources in Falcon supported by the Cristo Rey Foundation. Also some medicines will be given to children who do not have access to them with the help of my sister (who is a preschool teacher), my mother (who is a doctor), and some nuns who are dedicated to helping others.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS?

I couldn't ignore the situation. I see how people are struggling to get even the most basic medicines, children get complications because they don't have access to medication, some of them die from preventable and treatable diseases. I'm here in America where we have everything and I and wanted to help, to do something for them, so I started to ask my friends, people there and here and I'm so glad some people got involved and wanted to support this cause. 

HOW HAVE YOUR EFFORTS ALREADY PAID OFF?

In the school where my sister teaches, they now have supplies to treat children when they get hurt, when they get sick at school. That way they can keep learning. 

HOW CAN OUR CUSTOMERS HELP DIRECTLY?

  1. Buy: Purchase products on Amazon and send it to this address: 

    Claudia Serven (K22699)
    C/O K Export
    6819 Nw 84th Ave
    Miami, FL 33166-2616
    305-514-2500
    It will be sent directly from there to Venezuela 

  2. Ship: You can also ship any unused medications you already have to the above address

  3. Donate: If you don't have time to buy anything online or in person, I can do it for you. We can do PayPal or Venmo. Any amount donated will be greatly appreciated (Venmo: Claudia Serven, @Claudia-Serven. PayPal: ClaudiaServen, servenclaudia@gmail.com

Venezuela

    WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT VENEZUELAN CULTURE?

    Venezuelans are friendly! And we love to share. We care. There is a saying: "Where one eats, three eat". Even poor people share what they have with the others. I love that about my culture. 

    WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE VEGAN VENEZUELAN RECIPE? 

    Venezuelan Arepas. Arepas are little corncakes stuffed with savory fillings. The Arepas has its origins hundreds of years ago, cooked by the Venezuelan native people. There's nothing more Venezuelan than an arepa, and here you have my vegan version of Arepas: 

    Ingredients: 

    -1 cup of cornmeal or cornflour 
    -1 cup of warm water
    -1/2 cup of beet or carrot juice 
    -1/2 cup of whole grain oats 
    -2 tablespoons flaxseed
    -1/2 tsp. salt. 

    Instructions:

    • In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients until well mixed. Knead with your hands for about 3 minutes, moistening your hands with water as you work.
    • Form small balls with the dough. Place each between 2 plastic bags or pieces of parchment paper, then flatten with a flat pot cover to about 1/8-inch thickness.
    • Add some olive or coconut oil to a nonstick pan and heat over medium heat. Place the arepas in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, or until a golden-brown crust forms. Serve immediately.
    • Slice the arepa open from the side to stuff it. Fill (or top) with beans, plantains, veggies and guacamole. 

    Venezuelan arepas

      WHAT QUOTE KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED?

      “Life’s most urgent questions is: What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

      "Happiness is not in what we have but in what we share with others" - Claudia Serven

      WHERE CAN WE LEARN MORE?

      Here are some insightful articles by NPR, The Guardian, and The New York Times

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