So if you’re like me, by now you’ve cleaned out the medicine cabinet, purged your make-up collection of anything from before 2019, reorganized your sock drawer etc. The lockdown is getting extended and you feel bored and helpless. What can you do?

Most of us watch the battle against the virus from afar.  Sure, we see the heartbreaking scenes on the news of families losing their loved ones, who depart this world without being able to say goodbye. There is comfort in knowing they are not alone as nurses and doctors do their best to provide care, comfort and in some cases a last phone call from family. But unless you are there, the most we are experiencing, many of us, is the boredom and frustration of being in lockdown. And now, after 3 1/2 weeks, we are starting to feel a lack of real purpose… or maybe that’s just me…

So what to do? Again, the most important action individuals can take to stop the spread of the virus  is continuing to abide by the rules and stay home, wash hands and practice “social distancing,” and quarantining themselves if they are sick, according to public health officials.

Beyond those measures, here are some other things you can do for the cause:

Forbe’s Catherine Sabino writes, “Italy has suffered tremendously in recent weeks with the greatest number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in Europe and a death count now exceeding China’s. Some of the country’s biggest names are opening their checkbooks to help burdened medical facilities and health workers, among them, Giorgio Armani, has given €125 million to aid Italian hospitals; Prada, donated intensive care units to Milan hospitals; and the sports team Juventus, has established a GoFundMe page with a €300,000 to benefit Piedmont. In an interview with the Corriere della Sera, Prime Minister Conte said, “Scientists tell us that we have not yet reached the peak.” Anyone who loves Italy and has enjoyed its many beauties and attractions over the years, no doubt has been watching developments with feelings of great sadness and helplessness. Here are five ways you can contribute:

Fondazione La Stampa—Specchio del Tempo (link)

This non-profit, established in 1976 grew out of a newspaper column in La Stampa, a Turin-based newspaper that is among Italy’s oldest. The Foundation is asking for donations to benefit Italian hospitals in critical need of medical equipment, like ventilators, and to help the elderly impacted by the crisis. For information about donations.


Doctors Without Borders, the international medical relief organization, has put out an urgent call to EU countries to provide protective gear for healthcare personnel on the frontline of fighting the disease. “Even in high-level European hospitals we see health workers are overwhelmed, coping with up to 80 ambulances per day, with dramatic shortages of protective equipment putting them at great risk,” said Dr. Claudia Lodesani, president of DWB in Italy, in a statement. “Without an influx of urgently needed protective equipment, more and more health care workers will fall ill, reducing the availability of care for patients, generating new clusters of cases, and dangerously weakening the fight against the disease.” DWB teams are working in such hard-hit areas in Italy’s north as Lodi, Codogno, Casalpusterlengo, and Sant’Angelo Lodigiano.

Croce Rossa Italiana (Italian Red Cross)

The catalyst for creating an international network of Red Crosses in the 19th century was Swiss writer John-Henri Dunant’s publication, A Memory of Solferino, chronicling the horrors and staggering fatalities of the Battle of Solferino and San Martino, which took place near Lake Garda during Italy’s Second War for Independence. The Italian Red Cross was the fifth such group to be established in 1864. The CRI is coordinating its response to the pandemic with Italy’s Ministry of Health and is in need of donations for medical supplies and to aid in the work of its volunteers.

Caritas Italiana (link)

Among the missions of this pastoral group founded by Pope Paul VI and part of Caritas Internationalis, a world-wide organization headquartered in Vatican City, is to “coordinate emergency actions in case of public calamities.” On March 14th the Italian Bishops Conference donated €10 million for charity efforts connected to the virus outbreak. Francesco Soddu, director of Caritas Italiana, said in a statement, “We have activated home services for the distribution of meals and food, toll-free numbers to collect the needs of people forced into the home, especially the elderly. We have given support to homeless people who are unable to follow government directives on quarantine.”


This humanitarian group, founded in Milan in 1994, has been a long-time advocate for healthcare as a human right, and works with people suffering from the effects of poverty or war in 18 countries. As a response to the viral pandemic, Emergency has been delivering food and medical necessities to elderly residents in quarantine in Milan and working with the city to prevent the spread of the disease in homeless shelters. For information about donations.”


The Regional Ministry of Health for FVG has communicated that one of the few justifiable reasons for leaving the house is in order to go donate blood. 

Donors must be in good health; they must not have had a fever (temperature> 37.5 ° C), a cold, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing in the past 14 days; they must not have had close contact with a probable or confirmed case of Covid-19 in the past 14 days.

It is possible to book through the Regional Call Center at 0434 223522 (for calls from mobile phones), or at 848 448884 with a landline. The Call Center is active from Monday to Friday from 7.00 to 19.00 and Saturday from 8.00 to 14.00.


The Civil Protection Agency Protezione Civile of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region has activated a fundraiser  Aiutaci Ad Aiutare Help Us Help, to support the emergency needs relating to the Coronavirus in our territory. To donate you can send money to the FVG Region account with IBAN ” IT47 W 02008 02230 000003120964 ”  and put as the memo or causale ”Donazioni Coronavirus FVG”.

The regional Civil Protection Agency will give an account of each euro donated and how it is applied to the cause thereby guaranteeing the transparency and effectiveness of citizens’ donations.

– for individuals and non-commercial entities, donations are deductible from the gross tax for the purposes of income tax of 30%, for an amount not exceeding 30,000 euros

– for companies donations are deductible (article 27 of law no. 133 of 13 May 1999 applies)


Banco Alimentare ONLUS Food Bank Foundation, coordinates and guides the Food Bank Network.

It promotes the recovery of surplus food and the redistribution to charitable entities, organizes the National Food Collection Day and other food collections at a national level.


Taking care of seniors during the Coronavirus emergency is a priority for many families, especially here in Trieste.

For many, the daily meeting with their children or grandchildren or the aperitif with a group of friends, or the continuing education programs they attended or sports like golf and tennis they participated in, are all key elements of well-being and mental health which, for a limited period, have been suspended.

To alleviate the pain and boredom caused by the emptiness and the downsizing of their lifestyles until the lockdown ends, here are some ideas to help your loved ones (in compliance with the rules for the protection of personal and public health indicated in the various decrees issued to contain the Coronavirus pandemic).

Video calls
Many grandparents, in recent years, have become digitally proficient and this acquired ability allows them to “be in touch” through technology. If you have WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype or newer services like Zoom or Google Hangouts, you can use them to connect with multiple family members and friends.

These technologies can allow children, grandchildren and grandparents to carve out an important space during the day to be together, share, see each other, laugh, play or even create something new.

While the large digital companies have adapted to the new security protocols for the management of orders, goods and shipping, e-commerce can be used to find ways to use time constructively.

eBooks and local book delivery services
If  your seniors are passionate about reading  and you cannot bring them new books from the library or purchased in the bookstore, a solution could be to take advantage of online bookstores (Amazon, IBS etc ..) to give a pack of novels via home delivery.

Reading is a valuable tool for taking time, getting distracted by bad news and being in company.  You can help them start a book club with your family or with their friends.

As with books, if your seniors enjoy a certain activity, puzzles, card games, painting etc. you can ship them some via the web.  Seeds for growers who also appreciate growing potted plants.

Who knows how many things you have to tell your elderly parents. Who knows how many emotions you would like to share. Who knows how much love you would like to express and give, but in everyday life you cannot or cannot translate into words. This time of forced closure at home can be a good time to write letters to your grandparents or elderly relatives, giving comfort through positive feelings.

Drawing the Family Tree

What a great time to talk with your elders and trace your family’s history. This could be a great activity with children and seniors to create a record of all the relatives in your family tree, including the “nuts”!

That’s it for now from Trieste…Looking out at the beautiful blue sea, one would never guess we are living through this weirdly historic and life changing pandemic…only the lack of sailboats on the water reminds you that something is amiss…

Stay safe, let’s think about others and pledge that our new found kindness and concern will not disappear when things get back to normal…


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