By Ekaterina Tashlykova, secretary, and Julia Fedeneva, president-elect, Rotary Club of Novosibirsk-Initiative, Russia
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our self-awareness. Virtual meetings are now common, but what about doing service projects? Can these be virtual too? As a club, we explored this idea with our first service project since the pandemic hit.
As a doctor, I am in touch with a lot of essential medical workers. These men and women are on the front lines, battling to keep us healthy and alive. They risk their own health and hardly see their families to provide us with high-quality, timely medical care. Many of them work in hospitals that have a shortage of protective supplies. The facilities do not have enough masks, gloves, or antiseptics to keep them protected from the virus.
We decided to focus our attention on donating masks to these hospitals, and created two plans.
First, we connected with women who were currently on maternity leave who were sewing masks for multiple purposes. We found people who could supply us with textile and elastic bands, and worked out the logistics for delivering more than 1,000 masks to 10 area hospitals.
Second, we raised money to buy more masks. We were able to secure a discount on masks that were more comfortable and ecological. We let the community know what we were doing, and when they found out, many people donated to our cause.
After that, we decided we wanted to help kindergartens that were still in operation through these times. We provided them with sanitizers and masks. The teachers, many of whom were in a state of anxiety over the threat of contracting the virus, were delighted to receive our help.
Now we are organizing a children’s art project to show our support for the doctor’s working on the front lines.
So the answer to our question was yes, service is possible virtually. What can you do to help?