Photos: Credit: Invisible Hands Malta
‘Tough times sometimes bring out the best in people’.
This is the mission statement of Invisible Hands Malta, a group of young volunteers who have teamed up to offer free deliveries to people stuck at home during these uncertain times.
Inspired by similar initiatives in New York and New Jersey, the 180 or so volunteers, many of whom are expats, have set up a website where people can request help with groceries or other deliveries, for themselves or on behalf of others.
“We call ourselves invisible because, unfortunately, given what is known about COVID-19, we want to minimize as much direct contact in our deliveries as possible,” they explained.
“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.”
With the help of GO, they have also set up a 24/7 Maltese/English hotline for the benefit of people who aren’t familiar with technology.
And to spread the word even further, particularly for the sake of elderly people who might not be active on social media, Invisible Hands volunteers are currently printing out thousands of leaflets and distributing them to pharmacies, local councils, supermarkets, convenience stores and other public spots.
Volunteers must adhere to strict safety guidelines, such as not using the bus, wearing disposable gloves and masks while shopping and only accepting electronic payment. When delivering the goods, they must stand two metres away from the door and afterwards throw away their gloves and sanitise their hands.
If residents want to pay in cash, there’s an entire process involved. Volunteers must bring two disposable bags, place one inside the other, fold the outer bag to leave the inner one exposed and leave them both in front of the door. Afterwards, they phone the resident, back off by two metres and instruct them to put the money in the inner bag and go back inside.
The volunteers then pull up the outer bug to enclose the inner one, ensuring they won’t touch anything the resident would have touched. No change will be given.
To safeguard against potential theft, Invisible Hands have set up an SMS verification system, whereby both resident and volunteer will be able to verify each other’s identity prior to the delivery.
“Tough times can sometimes bring out the best in people,” Invisible Hands explains. “Thankfully, this virus-dominated period has showcased this very facet of human nature. The idea of having all hands on deck and working together as a single, solid unit for the general good has been fostered in all COVID-hit countries, and Malta is no exception.”