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Delta 17 wants your help to help Venezuela

Your chance to help out Josef Martinez’s home country.

Venezuelans Vote On Referendum To Re-Write Country's Constitution Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

All Atlanta United supporters are dope by virtue of being supporters of the best club in MLS, but I had no idea exactly how awesome y’all were until you told me (and showed me) the amazing things the Atlanta United community unites to do for folks in need. With soccer as a building block for community, each of our supporters groups do a remarkable job working with charities abroad and in the Atlanta area.

Today, I wanted to highlight an international effort that will provide aid to the home country of one Josef Alexander Martínez Mencia. You know. This guy.

Delta 17, along with member Hunter Collins of Dahlonega, are currently accepting supplies such as first aid, nutritional supplements and hygiene products to send to underserved families in Martinez’s home country of Venezuela.

Martinez has spoken about the turmoil in Venezuela before.

In an interview with Four-Four-Two earlier this month, Martinez discussed his responsibility as an athlete to give back to his home.

“Athletes have a role to play...A message on the internet can help lift a person’s spirits, but it doesn’t feed that person...I hope people say that there’s a Venezuelan who is doing good things, and that someone knows about Venezuela because of me.”

He also sent a personal message to the people of Venezuela back in May.

Much smarter people than me have explained the situation in Venezuela (for example: here and here), but even with minimal research, it’s readily apparent that the situation is grim.

Josef will likely take the field for the Venezuelan national team next week in a pair of World Cup Qualifiers that he genuinely questioned the existence of. In that same Four-Four-Two interview, Martinez said, “We can’t play … it’s a celebration when the national team plays, and my country is not in the mood to celebrate right now. Venezuela is suffering a lot. People are dying.”

Hunter Collins and Delta 17 have found an opportunity to help a nation where millions are struggling, and Martinez’s connection is certainly an added bonus to a project already overflowing with value.

“Look what he’s done for the sport in this city,” Collins said of Martinez. “He’s been nothing but a class act. He’s been nothing but a good guy, so we feel called to do our part to aid the people of Venezuela any way that we can.”

According to Collins, Delta 17 is working alongside ALMAS, a center for the Venezuelan community based out of Alpharetta, GA. ALMAS has been successfully coordinating the shipment of goods from Atlanta to the doorsteps of families and organizations in all areas of Venezuela for the past 3 years. The contents are insured from Atlanta, GA to the doorstep of two Non-governmental organizations in Venezuela -- Haz La Differencia and Primeros Auxillios UCV.

From there, those organizations will bring the items to predetermined locations to be delivered to those with the greatest need. Collins says that the project, “Is truly a hands and feet movement.”

Delta 17 and Collins are looking for any items listed HERE to place in a 18”x18”x18” box.

“We are happy to accept bulk donations, but we figure that the easiest way for people to make a difference is to collect a box full of pre-determined goods, and encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same,” Collins said. “They can also make a $29 contribution to the GoFundMe to pay for the shipping of that particular box. By collecting a container full of boxes we greatly reduce the cost per box to ship these much needed supplies.”

For more information, you can contact Collins at 678-571-0702 or hcdawsonco@gmail.com, or contact another member of Delta 17 to schedule a pickup for the supplies. You can also order supplies online and have them mailed to 250 Lewis Brown Dr., Dahlonega, GA 30533.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to the efforts, Haz La Differencia has created a GoFundMe. Any money donated will be directly applied to the shipping costs of the items.