How to support your community during the crisis
Written by Toni P. Lyubenova, edited by Tamar Weisert, photos courtesy Bulgarian Red Cross.
In light of recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in the interest for volunteering opportunities has risen among the population, with over 3200 volunteers currently assisting the front line in its fight against the virus.
For the time being, volunteers have been dispatched to three main areas in need of support: health establishments, where volunteers take care of disinfection in emergency rooms and take samples for coronavirus testing, social services, which include physical and psychological help for the elderly, and law enforcement, mainly assisting law enforcement members operating the borders between regional cities.
Registering as a volunteer in Sofia
Sofia residents who want to support activities that curb the spread of the virus can register as volunteers at the contact center of Sofia Municipality by phone (0700 17 310). They must leave their full name, National Identification Number, telephone number, address, information about their current profession, and in what area they may be useful.
Time Heroes is the biggest volunteering platform in Bulgaria. Their recent campaign, "Be a super neighbor - offer help to the most vulnerable people around you," offers users a free downloadable poster template to help volunteers reach out to their neighbors. Everyone who wishes to lend assistance is welcome to print the poster and pin it on the message board at the entrance of their apartment building. Volunteers can assist their neighbors by providing them with necessities such as going out for essential groceries or medicines, taking out their garbage, giving them a friendly phone call, or other small acts of care. You can learn more about the campaign here.
DOBROVOLETS.BG is a new platform created by Telelink Business Services Group, which aims to provide support to the National Crisis Staff by recruiting volunteers. After registering, applicants will have to answer several questions. From this point on, the candidate is available to the crisis staff who has direct access to the pool of registered candidates.
Bulgarian Red Cross
The Bulgarian Red Cross has opened a national first psychological aid chat, where more than thirty professional psychologists advise citizens on responsible behavior during the epidemic and provide support to those experiencing anxiety and stress. People in need of help can reach out to the volunteers on https://en.redcross.bg during the following hours: 10:00 - 12:00, 15:00 - 17:00 and 20:00 - 22:00.
In compliance with all epidemiological instructions, the organization provides necessary health care and essential social services for the elderly, sick, and lonely through its Home Care Centers throughout the entire country. Food packages for the elderly are also provided by the BRC and BILLA's Buy and Donate program. To learn more about the Bulgarian Red Cross and how you can support them, click here.
On April 9, Bulgarian Red Cross Youth announced its campaign to recruit volunteers among medical students in their last years of studies to participate in the COVID-19 pandemic management activities.
Open Sofia thanks Bulgarian Red Cross for the photos.