A government scheme to provide a lifeline to people confined at home due to the coronavirus pandemic reached more than 20 million people in one year. Vefa Social Support Groups, which are made up of crews of volunteers, have served the public in 81 provinces since the outbreak began last year in Turkey. Overall, 20.7 million people had their needs met by the volunteers, from food to medicine and hygiene kits to simple tasks like withdrawing money from the bank.
The groups, whose name can be roughly translated as “loyalty,” were formed 11 days after the country reported its first coronavirus case in March 2020. They primarily cater to senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses, who were ordered to stay home due to the high risk of infection. Under the coordination of provincial governorates, teams composed of police officers, military personnel, teachers and the staff of nongovernmental organizations visit the houses of people in need. Citizens are also able to request the crews' assistance through emergency hotlines. Currently, more than 144,000 volunteers work in Vefa groups.
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