The first month of quarantine or what it feels like when everyone must stay at home
Can you believe that the first month of quarantine, due to the coronavirus, is already gone? This worldwide crisis has taught us to work differently and be in situations that we have never been before. We are glad that from the start of the official quarantine, we did not have to cancel any of our important projects. We were again convinced that our assistance for other people is in high demand. Actually, during the quarantine, this demand is as high as ever before. We would like to share what results we have achieved during the last month.
- During the first few days of the quarantine, we had to temporarily stop our project ‘Meals on Wheels’ but only for the period until we have accommodated our services to this unusual situation. From 24 groups of elders that used to regularly get warm meals, we continue our project in 7 cities: Vilnius, Vilkaviškis, Kaunas, Tauragė, Panevėžys, Druskininkai, and Alytus. Actually, in Alytus, due to the fact that the school’s dining room was closed, Maltesers Onutė and Virginija, with a help of other volunteers, have started to make a soup in a small kitchen of children daycare center.
In other groups, due to the increased safety requirements, warm meals are provided 1-2 times per week. However, we must stress the fact that no one, who needs assistance, was left behind. We have started to use more food products with a short expiration date that were donated by ‘Maisto bankas’
- The program of social services for elders was also maintained. However, we only provide services of essential and vital care. Our volunteers communicated with elders via phone; provided necessary food products and medicines. Paid services for people, for whom our visit provides vital functions, were carried out with maximum protective equipment. Maltesers have also provided necessary protective equipment for those that are visited. During this month, Maltesers have also continued our services of a personal assistant, since the majority of people who receive this type of assistance are blind and had to be accompanied during essential trips. Communication with other disabled was carried out by telephone or other means of communication. We had to teach people of how to order food online. During this month, Maltesers assisted not only as consultants but as psychologists too.
- According to the general quarantine rules, we had to close our Children’s daycare centers. Despite that fact, we keep in touch with the children and their families. When schools in Lithuania began a new remote education program, it turned out that children from deprived families do not have the necessary computer equipment. Thanks to our long-term partners and sponsors ‘Nestle Lithuania’, the most deprived families received 26 computers.
- A major concern regarding personal protective equipment, that was noticeable at the beginning of the quarantine, is now gone. We ensure that all volunteers who visit service recipients, sort food products, or manage transportation services of disabled and diseased, would have all the necessary protective equipment. In addition to that, we provide protective equipment for our elders as well. Our regional managers Iveta, Justina, and Irena were responsible for the distribution of essential protective equipment among all our volunteers. In total, we have distributed 300 units of reusable non-medical face masks from ‘Utenos trikotažas’, 1000 units of reusable non-medical face masks donated by designer Robertas Kalinkinas, about 300 liters of disinfectant liquid, 3520 units of respirators FFP2, about 5000 units of medical face masks, 1000 units of disposable gloves and other types of personal protective equipment.
- From the beginning of quarantine, together with aukok.lt we participate in a fundraising campaign ‘Help Lithuanian Doctors to Fight Coronavirus’. During this time, people and various organizations have donated about 220 000 EUR. Together with the initiative from ‘Laisvės TV’, huge quantities of protective equipment were purchased and delivered to medical institutions. The donation campaign is still active. All funds will be used only for the purchase and supply of protective tools, no administrative fees are applied. If you want to donate, please visit: https://bit.ly/2QyCATr
- You can also make donations with the help of ‘Revolut’. Together with Maltesers and around 300 000 local clients, ‘Revolut’ will assist to collect funding that is necessary to purchase essential personal protective equipment. All the clients of ‘Revolut’ will be able to join this donation campaign by using a new application tool ‘Donation’. 100% of the amount specified by the customers will be transferred without any fees for the transaction.
- Just after the quarantine was announced, we have faced a huge risk of terminating our campaign of ‘Meals on Wheels’. However, thanks to the goodwill of three local organizations, we were able to continue delivering warm soup and bread for our elders. One time per week, ‘Maxima, ‘Auga’, and ‘Gardėsis’ deliver 2 packets of ecological ‘Auga’ soup (400 g in each packet) and a loaf of ‘Gardėsis’ bread for each of our elder in 25 Lithuanian cities and villages. ‘Maxima’ is responsible for logistics. This initiative will continue throughout the period of quarantine.
- Before Easter, our sponsors took care that children from Malteser Children daycare centers and other people that are under the auspices of the Order of Malta would have delicious food products. Our long-term partners Lithuanian trade network ‘Maxima’ has prepared around 1000 food packets for our elders and children, ‘Globus Trade’ has donated 1000 jars of canned vegetables and fruits; ‘Lidl Lithuania’ has prepared 386 special festive treat bags for children that were distributed in 15 cities and villages of Lithuania; ‘Kalnapilis’ has donated more than 500 packets of juice; ‘Baltic XL’ has provided 96 units of the most delicious Easter Italian cake ‘Panettone’; one IBM association has donated 1000 EUR so that our elders from Viduklė, Kupiškis, and Rokiškis would also have some delicious food products on their Easter tables. In fact, it is even difficult to mention all the sponsors that have helped us during this time. We express our sincere gratitude for your donations and presents. We are also grateful for our office employees who were able to quit their usual jobs and contribute to calculating, packing, and delivering of food products. Currently we have gift vouchers from LIDL. Therefore, if you did not receive a specially prepared food packet, please contact Jolanta.
- Just before Easter, the Order of Malta ambassador in Lithuania has initiated a campaign of kindness ‘Call your friend #3x3x3’. In this campaign people are asked to call for 3 friends that you haven’t seen in a long time or lonely people, talk with them for at least 3 minutes and encourage them to call the other 3 people. Let’s talk about simple things like the book that you have read, delicious food that you have prepared, or tricks made by your pet. This initiative can turn into consolation and victory against the coronavirus.
- We are positively surprised about the unity of people since we receive daily calls from people who want to join our volunteering activities. Especially this is noticeable in the capital city. In Vilnius we have 84 volunteers, with an average age of 35 years, that can help to perform daily tasks. Volunteers can distribute food products or buy food products for those people who could do that for themselves but now, due to their age or other diseases, avoid leaving home. In addition to that, new volunteers distribute personal protective equipment for different health institutions. Volunteers are provided with face masks, gloves, and disinfectants. They can travel by using their own vehicles or take our personal transportation. In the whole territory of Lithuania, Maltesers have already received 47 calls from municipalities and other partners for asking assistance to deliver food products, make a call, and others.
- For this day, we are glad that the project of a retirement home in Telšiai region is being prepared. We prepare documents for the use and we have also signed the agreement with ‘Archera’ company for the design project. Things are moving forward, since we already have pre-design proposals, and the maximum deadline for issuing a design project, change of purpose and having building permission is 3 months.
Besides all these essential works, there are more to be mentioned and more to be happy about. Thank you to all the working and contributing. We are strong together!