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Clergy Joins ‘In This Together’ Nationwide Hotline to Help Elderly

20 April 2020
К работе общероссийской горячей линии «Мы вместе» по оказанию помощи пожилым людям присоединятся священнослужители

‘In This Together’ is a hotline that strives to support self-isolating people over 60 all over Russia and coordinate aid for them. The main task of the call centre is to help volunteers ensure food and medications delivery to the elderly in self-isolation. This age group is at highest risk due to the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19. As of today, the call centre has processed over 1.5 million calls and over 170 thousand requests.

As the coronavirus situation aggravates in Russia, call centre operators register more and more requests for psychological support, as well as questions about the operation of religious institutions during the quarantine.

In this time of hardship, many people are looking for both psychological assistance and updates about religious events. In this regard, the Innosocium Foundation — the social platform of the Roscongress Foundation — is joining efforts with the All-Russia People’s Front, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Chief Rabbinate of Russia, and the International Association of Islamic Business to get them involved in the work of the hotline for people over 60 and people with disabilities.

«Today, it is crucial to provide moral support to the elderly. This situation is more physically and emotionally challenging for them. At this moment, everything is going online, and the usual lifestyles are ruined. It takes a lot for the older generation to get adjusted. One of our key tasks is to help the elderly cope with this time of trouble and to support them. This assistance becomes even more important during big religious holidays. I am confident that joint efforts of all religions, organizations and volunteers involved in the hotline operation will help us overcome all the difficulties,» noted Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.

The nationwide hotline ‘In This Together’ strives to support self-isolating people over 60 and people with disabilities and coordinate aid for them. These two groups are at highest risk due to the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19. The project is organized by the All-Russian People’s Front with support from the Roscongress Foundation — a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and sporting, public, and cultural events; Association of Volunteer Centres, Medical Volunteers (a public movement of international cooperation), Volunteers of the Constitution movement, and Rostelecom.

«During this time of hardship, people need to hear words of cheer and hope. Our hotline gets requests for psychological assistance of both secular and spiritual nature. It is valid for the Orthodox Christians in anticipation of Easter and for those who belong to other religions as well. It is good that clergy of different religions decided to take spiritual guidance and support upon themselves. This is such a difficult and important task. It means that we are truly #InThisTogether,» shared Dmitry Polikanov, Deputy Head of All-Russian People’s Front Executive Committee.

«When the usual environment changes, spiritual advisors come in handy. We are happy that our initiative was supported by representatives of three religions,» noted Elena Marinina, Deputy CEO of the Roscongress Foundation and Director of the Innosocium Foundation.

«The Russian Orthodox Church has opened its assistance centres and offices around the country: thousands of Orthodox Christian volunteers help self-isolated people. They deliver groceries and medications. Sisters of Mercy assist in bedridden patient care. Church funded projects for the homeless and our humanitarian aid centres are experiencing a surge in requests. A number of our eparchies, including Moscow, run their own church hotlines. This week is the Holy Week. It is the time all Orthodox Christians usually spend in church preparing for their main holiday — the Holy Easter. However, many people now have to stay home. Spiritual support becomes essential for them. That is why it is so good that our priests would be able to take the calls for the ‘In This Together’ hotline,» stated Bishop Panteleimon, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Ministry of the Russian Orthodox Church; Head of the Miloserdie Orthodox Charity Organization.

The International Association of Islamic Business is a platform that unites entrepreneurs from Russia and international business leaders that are driven by ethics and share a deep respect for the elderly. This platform has joined the project. «The older generation needs material, physical and spiritual aid now more than ever. We are ready to provide whatever it takes to improve the quality of life for those in need. If each of us starts helping people from our inner circle gradually spreading help to the ones who are not so close, more and more people in need will get the necessary help and attention sooner rather than later,» said Marat Kabaev, President of the Association.

At this moment, Russian Orthodox priests and representatives of the Muslim community have confirmed their participation in the hotline. Jewish clergy are expected to join the project in the near future.

The ‘In This Together’ hotline offers daily updates on the spread of the virus and preventive measures available in the country as of the day of request. Also, elderly people and people with disabilities can request assistance in purchasing and delivering groceries, medications, and essentials. Aid will be provided by volunteer services.

The hotline operates 24/7.

The hotline number is +7 (800) 200 3411.