This year again, because of the Covid19, the organizations members of the International Federation adapted and succeeded in celebrating Easter with the elderly people they support.
In many countries, Easter is still an important holiday and the elderly are keen to mark this moment. Gatherings of several people could not take place, family lunches were also postponed or greatly reduced and lonely people felt even more isolated.
Volunteers and staff (in Canada, United States…) found other ways to celebrate by delivering packages containing chocolates, cookies, surprises, cards with testimonies, flowers or even a small newspaper “The friends’ mail” created for this occasion (in Germany). The visits (at home when possible or at a distance) of the volunteers brought comfort and company to the older adults and made this holiday really special.
In Poland, the teams distributed typical Easter meals, such as sour rye soup, stuffed eggs and traditional cake. A decorative cushion with the inscription: “You are in our hearts” was distributed with spring flowers. Mrs. Irenka expressed her gratitude: “This gift gave me great joy. So many things have changed since I met you. I feel so good, I am not alone and I know I have wonderful people by my side. Every time I look at this cushion, I think of you. No one should sit alone at the Easter table! ”
In Hungary, there is a special tradition for Easter, which is based on the springtime analogy of women, who are flowers that need to be watered frequently to keep from wilting. So men visit women on Easter Monday and sprinkle them with perfume or water. Usually they also recite a poem in which they ask the woman’s permission to water her.
The old ladies supported by Idosek Baratai, the hungarian partner of the International Federation Petits Frères des Pauvres, waited for the volunteers, dressed up, and gave red eggs to the men – since that is the traditional way to say thank you for the sprinkling! Old men and women received personalized gifts thanks to the employees of a consulting company who enthusiastically prepared gift packages according to each senior’s wishes. They fulfilled all their wishes! and wrote personalized messages. Magdolna was delighted: “The holiday is in our hearts. If it is empty, it is very sad – but you fill my heart every time you visit me!”.
Photo credit: International Federation Petits Freres des Pauvres