How’s this for 2016 #GivingTuesday? The Lithuanian-American Club of Springfield, Ill., just donated $2,300 USD to the Knights of Malta Relief Organization in Lithuania (Maltos Ordino Pagalbos Tarnyba) in partnership with Mr. Robert Narmont, CEO of United Community Bank. The Club and 24 of its members donated $1,150.00, which was generously matched 100 percent by Mr. Narmont, a third-generation Lithuanian-American also proudly known as “Robertas Narmontas.”
On Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving, Bob and UCB also provided a free international wire. That enabled the entire sum of $2,300 USD (minus $15 for the incoming bank wire fee) to be received right on Thanksgiving Day to coincide with an official visit to the charity and some of its elderly beneficiaries in Vilnius, Lithuania, by our Club officer Viktorija Bieliauskaite Legge.
Mr. Eitvydas Bingelis, the Knights’ General Secretary in Vilnius, reports that our donation will provide approx. 1,500 hot meals delivered to impoverished, homebound elderly through the group’s “Meals on Wheels” program. He invites us to follow the Maltieciai’s daily works on the following social media channels:
In September 2016, the Knights of Malta received special recognition and thanks from the government of Lithuania for their 25 years of charitable work in the country–especially for their success in reviving the spirit of volunteerism and fighting poverty with volunteer “boots on the ground” in towns and villages across the country.
Here’s more from the Knights’ Maltiečiai website:
“Today, the Lithuanian Relief Organisation of the Order of Malta has 1,200 volunteers in 40 towns in Lithuania who help the poor, the old, people with disabilities, and children from disadvantaged families…
“…It is important to note that the Maltesers remember elders not only on the day of the Seniors, but assist them all the year, every year expanding our projects. At present, our “Meals on Wheels” are delivered in 18 cities. More than 116,000 hot meals were brought to lonely elderly people; additionally, seniors were visited more than 61,000 times in 2015.
“…Another big Malteser project for seniors’ “Social care at home” is currently running in 10 cities. Maltesers supervise constantly at home 552 old, ill and disabled people. In another 19 areas Maltesers regularly attend more than 1,500 lonely elderly people, communicate with them, and help them at home. 80 years is the average age of elderly who are visited by Maltesers. Our volunteers visited their fostered elders at home more than 30,000 times in 2015.
“…Stronger seniors are invited to join Malteser clubs for seniors in 5 cities. The Malteser social service “Let’s go” helps the disabled and seniors. At present, Maltesers constantly take care of more than 2 300 seniors in Lithuania.
“…Our projects for seniors are extremely important for our single seniors, who are often completely alone,”– shared his thoughts MOPT President R. Abunevičius. – “Visiting them, Maltesers become very close to them, helping them with managing their illnesses, disability, and loneliness.
“…Aid for disabled persons is one of the priority activities of the Order of Malta; every year they organize a pilgrimage to Lourdes, as well at least a few Lithuanians are transported to the International Youth camp for Disabled “Malta Camp”, more than a year ago we introduced the transportation service for the disabled. In particular, we want to help the individuals with experienced spinal injury; the support and sharing success stories are essential to cope with stress. This is precisely what we will seek in the special camp.
“…The camp uniqueness is the fact that people with disabilities are the mentors. They as well as disabled people live a full life. They will share their experience of a disabled person adaptability, e.g., about a disabled person’s ability to travel, drive, use public transport, dress up, take a shower, regulate the bladder operations, work and recreate. Mentors help the participants and inspire young people with disabilities to believe in life by their success stories.
“…Currently the Maltesers in Lithuania have 11 child day-care centers (including the new Malteser Tauragė Children’s Day Care Center) and our youth center in Aukštadvaris.
“Jau daug metų esu akcijos “Maltiečių sriuba” globėjas, kiek galiu, dalyvauju jos renginiuose. Nuoširdžiai kviečiu visus prisijungti prie maltiečių akcijos, parodyti širdies taurumą, auka prisidėti įgyvendinant kilnius pagalbos tikslus. Dėkoju visiems Lietuvos žmonėms už gerumą ir teikiamą viltį…“
Prezidentas Valdas Adamkus
All images courtesy of Knights of Malta international and Lithuanian websites