The Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher who dubbed himself “Nightmare” is working to bring hope to parents of infants in his native Venezuela.
Last year, Pittsburgh Pirates fans opened their hearts and wallets to send supplies to Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Closer Felipe Rivero is calling on fans to tap into that generosity once again to help another country facing crisis: his home of Venezuela.
Due to a series of steadily worsening socioeconomic and political crises, coupled with plunging oil prices across the globe, Venezuela, which relied heavily on the petroleum industry for economic stability, suffered a devastating recession. Social programs to support the lower income populations of the country collapsed and the currency became extremely devalued.
This resulted in widespread shortages of items necessary for sustaining life in the country, like food, medicine and basic supplies. What supplies they do have are extremely expensive, rendering them unavailable to average citizens.
This is where the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Felipe Rivero comes in.
Rivero to the Rescue
“There’s a lot of little kids dying of starvation, so I’m trying to start little by little, starting with food and supplies,” he said in a Twitter DM-based interview.
Given that children are most vulnerable, he’s initially collecting donations of items desperately needed by families including diapers, wipes, baby formula, bottles, baby medicine and newborn clothes. He’s collecting the supplies, which will eventually make their way to a hospital in San Felipe, the capital of the state of Yaracuy. It is the same hospital where he was born and his mother once worked, he said.
“They will get there through one of my good friends. He will go in person, and give it to the little guys in person, not through the government or anything,” he said.
Conditions in his country are dire he said, but vary depending upon where a person is in Venezuela and their social level. Those who have monetary success can find things those who don’t can’t, but due to the inflation rate, the cost of items is incredibly expensive, he added. An LA Times article estimated that it cost $150 to buy a dozen eggs in Venezuela in May 2016.
Rivero is asking people interested in helping to send items to:
3168 Bill Beck Blvd., Kissimmee, FL 34744.
If you would prefer to send money that they can use to shop for needed items, you may send it through PayPal to [email protected] – Rivero asks that if you send funds through PayPal, send him a screenshot of the contribution as well.
Once he accumulates enough supplies, he will send them to Venezuela for distribution. His goal is to continue collecting supplies throughout Spring Training and the 2018 baseball season to keep helping people in his country as long as they need it.
Members of the Pittsburgh Pirates front office have contacted him and are sending supplies as well, he added.