human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

A closer look at Caritas Slovenia during COVID-19

In the last three weeks, the Caritas Slovenia network has reached 14,367 households across Slovenia, of which 690 new households received assistance due to epidemic. The volunteers distributed 210 tonnes of food and hygiene supplies. As a result of the epidemic, as much as 20% of the aid was delivered to homes. In addition, a total of 53,000 EUR was used to help households pay the most urgent utility bills. More than 1,500 young volunteers were involved in the distribution of supplies. During this period, there were 275 emergency interventions in individual municipalities in cooperation with the Civil Protection services. Caritas rental facilities for wheelchairs also works intensively to give care assistance to the relatives of the elderly who were sent home from nursing homes. As many as 1,320 people have contacted Caritas over the phone for psychosocial assistance in the last three weeks. There are also 148 people in 18 accommodation units (maternity homes, therapeutic communities, shelters for homeless people) for all-day care. Implementing such programs is very demanding in the circumstances.

At the outbreak of the epidemic, Caritas adapted its work to all the necessary precautions, both individually and through home delivery. All Parish Caritas called every individual whom they have regular contact with, especially the elderly, chronic patients, single mothers with young children and others who would be particularly affected by the epidemic and the measures taken to stop the spread of the virus. The Parish Caritas continued to distribute aid on a regular basis, supplying 14,367 households in the last three weeks and stocking them with food from the first FEAD delivery (Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived). New families, more than 690 in total, have also sought help, because they lost their jobs or are elderly people with no one to take care of them. A total of 151 tonnes of basic food packages were distributed, supplemented by an additional 59 tonnes of food purchased by Caritas Slovenia, with the aim of providing a comprehensive and adequate level of assistance. At the invitation of young Caritas, as many as 420 young volunteers answered the call for assistance.

Psychosocial telephone assistance is one of the most important components of Caritas’ help in the wake of the outbreak. The epidemic, especially for those with major or minor mental health problems, presents severe distress. Caritas professionals and trained volunteers answered over 1,327 calls in three weeks, trying to alleviate restlessness and fear and create a safe and supportive environment. In a specific young Caritas campaign, young volunteers set up a project ‘Connected remotely’ where young volunteers socialise with lonely seniors over the phone.

This short overview has hoped to present just some of the amazing work being done by the staff and volunteers of Caritas Slovenia, all of whom are committed to continue assisting those in need so that no one is left behind.