Our Italian neighbours are our friends.
We owe so much to the Italians… not only coffee and wine but also their all-round attitude towards life, with its open cheerfulness, joyful zest for life and heartfelt camaraderie.
Italy was one of the countries in Europe that were hit very early and particularly hard by the corona pandemic. As early as February 2020 – within a few weeks of the outbreak of the pandemic – many people there were already in the midst of a serious emergency. This is how the initiative “To Italy with Love” came into being – a project close to the heart of Dr. Hansjörg Künzel and Elke Menzel.
What has happened over the last few months…
Our spontaneous relief campaign for Italy started at the very beginning of the corona pandemic in February 2020, partly due to the lack of support from German and European politicians back then. Relations between Italy and Germany were very tense at that time and threatened to sever the otherwise close and friendly ties.
The Italian crisis areas, however, expressed a dire need for medical supplies such as respiratory masks, gloves and disinfectants. Although the worldwide market for these products was practically sold out, we managed to find suppliers for the first “smaller” quantities of masks and other medical equipment. We would like to take this opportunity to express our special thanks to these early sponsors!
As early as March 2020, we were therefore able to set off for Italy for the first time and deliver the first donations in the form of 6,000 masks to hospitals and civil defense forces in Perugia and Marsciano. At that time Italy was in complete lockdown, so the trip was somewhat adventurous with special permits and some hair-raising moments!
Between March and October 2020, we travelled to Italy 9 times in our own cars, personally handing over more than 120,000 masks and more than 100,000 latex gloves – which for a certain period of time were trafficked like gold – to various institutions (hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, civil defence, homes for the elderly and disabled, as well as hospices, food outlets, social services and a prison), selected companies (supermarkets, pharmacies) and individuals in need.
What your donations have already achieved…
Our actions were met with immense gratitude – and we were also able to enjoy some tangible successes. Dr. Paolo Groff, Director of the Emergency Department at the University Hospital of Perugia, expressed the greatest praise of all: “With your help you have saved human lives!” Some of his nursing staff had already had to make do with self-made protective suits, which led to a rapid increase in staff absenteeism and corresponding bottlenecks in the care of patients. According to Dr. Paolo Groff, our supplies brought about such a noticeable improvement that there were gradually fewer and fewer infections among the hospital’s nursing staff, meaning patient care could be continued with maximum staff numbers again.
From mid-June 2020 the supply of masks etc. to the Italian population slowly returned to normal, which enabled us to gradually use donated funds and goods for other purposes as well, such as urgently required wheelchairs and bath lifts for nursing homes for the elderly and disabled.
Since October 2020, the number of infections in Europe has continued to rise again incessantly. As with the first wave, rural areas in Italy are particularly hard hit, as most aid is flowing into the big cities. We are therefore concentrating our efforts once again on the need for medical supplies in rural areas, including respiratory masks, gloves and disinfectants.
Our journey to becoming a non-profit organisation:
We thank all our donors and supporters who made the start of this project possible. Within the space of a few months, what started out as a spontaneous fundraising campaign developed into a common mission – and in October 2020 we founded the association “To Italy with Love”! The next step of this association is to become a non-profit organisation. You will find more details here shortly on the guiding principles and the work of “To Italy with Love”.
To all of you who feel inspired and would like to support our Italian neighbors, please join us!
Here are our contact details as well as the donation account details for spontaneous donors.
A cordial GRAZIE MILLE,
Hansjörg Künzel, Elke Menzel and the whole “To Italy with Love” team
Dr. Uwe und Barbara Büchner
Dr. Claudia Drews
Petra Hüttermann & Tom Heim
Christine, Peter & Dr. Alexander Kappes
Pirjo, Laleh & Babak Kazemi
Agneta & Clemens Lansing
Dr. Carolin und Dr. Manuel Menzel
Axel & Susann Meise
Thomas Nestler und Madelon Jord
Natasha Dr. Doslik & Uwe Neugebauer
Carina & Farid El-Nomany
Alexandra und Alex Reus
Rotary Club München Ost
Rotary Club Wien-Mozart
Dr. Norbert Schäfer
Joram & Nathalie Scher
Nikola und Frieder Spieth
Maike Lisa Weiss