When Daniel Goebel came up with the idea to create Invisible Hands Malta, little did he know that two weeks later this would grow to have 205 volunteers, and counting – all over Malta and Gozo.
Speaking to Bay earlier today from Germany, where he is currently stranded, Daniel told us that Invisible Hands Malta is a group of volunteers based in Malta, willing to help the most affected members of the community by the COVID-19.
I asked him, how does Invisible Hands help out – and why do they call themselves invisible.
Daniel told me that they help with free delivery of food and essential supplies to the ones more in need like elderly people, immunocompromised and people in quarantine, adding that they call themselves invisible because, unfortunately, given what is known about COVID-19, they want to minimize as much direct contact in our deliveries as possible.
“In this incredibly isolating time, we’re happy to provide you with a connection and to give something back to the Maltese society, a place which we call our home.”
So, how does it all work?
Daniel told us that the online platform is meant to put in touch the ones in need, with volunteers, in a decentralized manner, as there is no actual intermediate central physical organisation involved. It acts as a facilitator to bring individuals together who are willing to help, without creating potential bottlenecks, as we see an immense increase of people in need within the coming months.
Map Showing Volunteers and Requests all over Malta and Gozo
Taking its cue from New York and New Jersey in the United States, the Malta-based group particularly targets the more vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly or the infirm, individuals with health issues, pregnant women, those currently in quarantine and anyone else who may be indicated by the World Health Organisation or local government sources.
Invisible Hands Malta operates a very user-friendly, simple website via which people in need can apply for help: invisiblehandsmalta.org. It also takes into account that some residents just aren’t familiar or comfortable with the use of technology, and has its own landline that can be called via +356 216 691 69 (Maltese / English – available 24/7).
Daniel told us that currently they “need help with the distribution of 2500 leaflets to pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience shops across Malta and Gozo.” The leaflet can be printed HERE and people are encouraged to distribute in their neighbourhood, “so we can reach as many elderly and vulnerable as possible.”
Daniel also told Bay that they need young people to let their grandparents know about this service, as they too might need something from somewhere, and the great people over at Invisible Hands Malta can be there for them!
Invisible Hands makes sure that it abides by the idea of ‘contactless’ help. It is important to keep a safe space between volunteers and clients, so members of the group follow the Safety Guidelines adopted in order to keep direct contact to a minimum.
Volunteers not only wear safety gear, such as masks and gloves but also deposit the items delivered behind the residents’ doors. Volunteers are encouraged not to accept cash and to be refunded by electronic payment such as Revolut.
Finally, Daniel explains that to ensure everyone’s utmost protection, both sides, the elderly as well as the volunteers, especially following recent robbery-attempts, an SMS verification system has been created, to verify each other’s identity. Once the volunteer reaches the drop-off point, both will receive an automated SMS with a unique keyword to make sure the integrity of the order is guaranteed.
Well, what can we say? This is indeed a commendable initiative by the Expat community in Malta, and it is also heart-warming to see Maltese and Gozitans joining as Volunteers. As it is always said, in turbulent times, Malta truly shines as one big bundle of Solidarity!