“When you run into something good, share it with others. That is how goodness is spread into most remote corners of the world.”

This is quotation with which I’m starting my story about the COVID-19 response, but also the quotation with which I started my story in the Red Cross. The first part was always clear to me. Eleven years ago, my friend found something good, shared it with me, and so I become volunteer. Second part I fully understood just recently. Dough I volunteer for Red Cross for eleven years, this is the first time that I’m facing such a serious task. We are in situation that turned our everyday lives upside-down. Suddenly, things that for whole of our lives we took for granted where taken from us. We wear masks and gloves to grocery shops, picnics in nature are exchanged for picnics in our back yard and spending time with friends become spending time with our phones.

Some people that are in the risk groups have children, grandchildren or a good neighbor who will do for them what is needed, so they would not have to be exposed. And some have no one. Some of them think they have no one. But they have us.

Activities in which we are currently involved are raising awareness about protecting oneself and others and doing chores for people who asked for our help. Shopping for groceries, going to pharmacy or post office looks like easy task. For me it is challenge, because it is great responsibility to take care of my own health, health of our beneficiaries and health of other people. For the first time I feel that I’m not only responsible only for myself, but also for other people. I’m responsible for someone’s mother, brother, wife, … It is a great challenge, but a great pleasure too. It is a beautiful feeling knowing that someone believes in you.

I believe that us volunteers are great example for whole community because we show that no one is alone and that it takes very little to help others. We are very recognizable with our red vests, Red Cross markings and people are interested in what we do. They often ask how they can help, how to get themselves involved in Red Cross operations. And I think that is one of our main goals. Spreading information is important, but spreading humanity is essential and I think that we are doing a great job.

Of course, there are many people who don’t understand and asks all sorts of questions. Why do you do it? How much do they pay you? What’s in it for you? Why are you putting yourself in danger? … And you know what? I do it for myself. I do it because my heart is full every time when I get a smile from a person receiving aid. Though we must maintain physical distance, our hearts where never been closer and that is how goodness is spread to farthest corners of the world.

Dunja Lazar
Croatian Red Cross
May 8, 2020