Street kids recognize them immediately. As soon as they see the cars with the balloons and the “Donde Come Uno Comen Dos” logo, relief washes over their small faces.
“When they see us, they start to yell: ‘They’re here!, they’re here!,’” Eva García tells me.
Eva is the mastermind behind Donde Come Uno Comen Dos, an initiative that started as a family organization and now has the support of more than 30 volunteers.
Eva works in advertising at a popular Latin-music broadcaster based in Buenos Aires. Like so many others, she left Venezuela with her partner. But she didn’t forget about the people she left behind. After getting a job and a home, she racked her brain trying to find ways to help the most vulnerable in Venezuela. Soon, she saw her mom and family would be the keys to her plan.
They started to deliver food to the people who seemed in most need to them: street kids and the homeless. Eva sends money, her mom cooks, her grandpa and a neighbor deliver it. At its root, it is charity at its most primal: no bureaucracy, no paperwork, just a family with a bit of money and the will to help.
Pretty soon they were getting support from Fundación Cisneros, Organización Miss Venezuela, and the supermarket chain Unicasa.
Soon, though, it started to grow. Right away, friends and neighbors joined them and now they’re able to deliver between 300 and 350 rations of food. Mostly it’s soup: it’s cheap to make, “y rinde” (it’s always enough). But they also make rice with chicken and lentils. It all depends on what they get in donations.
“It all started to grow, just like that. We didn’t plan it. We’re so grateful to everyone involved,” Eva says, talking about people helping her now.
Pretty soon they were getting support from Fundación Cisneros, Organización Miss Venezuela, and the supermarket chain Unicasa. Even a band called Pepperland donated all the proceeds from a recent show.
From Monday through Friday, Eva’s mom works as an office cleaner for a friend. Two weekends a month she puts on her chef’s hat and cooks for Donde Come Uno Comen Dos. She used to have a little lunch spot – a “menú ejecutivo” type of place – but food shortages forced her to shut down. That tragedy became a blessing when she realized that she could use all the kitchenware from her restaurant to make food for people in need.
“It all started to grow, just like that. We didn’t plan it. We’re so grateful to everyone involved.”
Anyone can pitch in: Eva, from Buenos Aires, organizes the volunteers, takes care of the logistics of the donations and publishes the pictures online. Her mom gets the cooking going on Saturday, with the help of a group of volunteers who cut and organize the ingredients. Then, on Sundays, they cook and deliver the food. Others wash up and organize containers.
Kids, too, have an important mission: they write messages on every container to bring some hope to every person in need. After that, they decorate the cars and put on balloons as they go out to Petare, Francisco de Miranda Avenue or El Marqués.
There’s a place, close to the CCCT, where a lot of street kids and homeless adults tend to congregate. Four pregnant girls are in that group, two of them underage. They all know how to act when they see the cars: they organize the stairs to receive the soup, the juice, and some fruits.
Amid the tragedy, they make a little room for joy. Volunteers go with the family to deliver the food and celebrate every time someone in need has the chance to eat some good food made with love.
She remembered one time that a mom brought their kids on Sunday to deliver the food, one of them named Sebastián, a 12-year-old. That day they were also giving clothes and shoes to street kids, but two of them did not receive shoes because they didn’t have anything on their size, so Sebastián gave them his.
Eva sends money, her mom cooks, her grandpa and a neighbor deliver it.
“There are no words to describe that,” Eva says as her voice breaks.
“One time we arrived and there was this guy, with his kid, looking for some food in the trash. He looked at us, crossed himself, knelt and thanked us,” she said.
They do more than just deliver the food. When they go out, they make time to play with the kids, they hug and kiss them, they know that those kids are also hungry for some love and attention.
“We’re pretty close to them; the happiness is amazing. They need to know that we are there to help, that we care. They always ask what are we going to bring on the next opportunity and ask for cambur (banana): they love that,” Eva says.
Eva has no plans to slow down, especially after seeing the faces of the people in need, so she is planning to bring Donde Come Uno Comen Dos to the JM de los Ríos Hospital.
To learn more about Donde Come Uno Comen Dos, visit: https://www.facebook.com/Dondecomeunocomendosvzla/
And if you want to help directly, you can just drop some money in the following bank account:
Banco Mercantil. Cuenta de ahorro: 0105 0169 5501 6917 6304. Joerly Cabello, C.I.: 18.599.654
Or reach out directly to [email protected] to see fit here anything else you can do.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.