Portuguese citizens volunteer in droves in the wake of economic crisis

Lisbon, Feb 26 (AFP/APP): From offering assistance to medical workers to distributing meals and donating computers to needy schoolkids, Portuguese citizens are volunteering in droves in the wake of the economic and social crisis brought on by the pandemic.

At Lisbon’s main Santa Maria hospital, six motor homes parked nearby have become the headquarters of some 450 volunteers mobilised throughout the country by Ricardo Paiagua’s Caravan Project. “The state doesn’t have money to fund everything and it’s up to us to help each other,” said the 38-year-old marketing and advertising professional.

Shocked by images of ambulances queing outside hospitals at the start of the year, when the number of COVID cases exploded in the country, he used his network of contacts to gather dozens of motor homes in order to provide a quiet space or a snack and hot drink to exhausted health care workers during their shifts.

A nearby auditorium provided by the University of Lisbon allows the group to stock goods, including cereal bars, mattresses or computers, donated to thank hospital staff for their dedication. – ‘Help me for school’ .

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