Project Handclasp: Assistance to the Rytas Orphanage and the Caritas Elderly Home in Klaipeda

KLAIPEDA, Lithuania — U.S. Air Force Lt.Col. Stephen Timmons, Deputy ODC Vilnius, U.S. Navy sailors from the USS John L. Hall and children from Rytas Orphanage joke around here Oct. 22 after a Project Handclasp donation was provided to the orphanage. (Photo by U.S. Embassy)

KLAIPEDA, Lithuania — Ambassador Anne Derse of the United States Embassy and the Deputy, Office of Defense Cooperation, Air Force Lt. Col. Stephen E. Timmons delivered donated hygiene material to the U.S. Navy as part of Project Handclasp. Members of the USS John L Hall transferred the materials to Klaipeda and traveled to Caritas Elderly Home where the team was greeted by Father Vilius Viktoravicius and Rasa Senkiene. After spending time visiting the facility and meeting with the staff, Derse traveled with the team to Rytas Orphanage, where she was met by the Governor of Klaipeda, Mr. Burksas and the Orphanage Director, Regina Milasiene, staff and children.

Project Handclasp accepts educational, humanitarian, and goodwill material and transports these items overseas on a space-available basis in U.S. Navy ships. Goodwill materials are donated by individuals, service, and religious organization and American Industry. The shipment included: lotions, wipes, soaps, shampoo and mouthwash.

The U.S. Embassy's Office of Defense Cooperation and Rytas Orphanage have had a robust and mutually beneficial relationship. Since 2004, U.S. military engineers have helped renovate the kitchen and dining areas, the corridors and central staircase, and improve the ventilation system. The U.S. Department of Defense also provided funds to replace all of the facility's windows and donated excess property to improve the offices, common rooms and children's rooms.

The U.S. Embassy's Office of Defense Cooperation and the Caritas Elderly Care home staff worked together with U.S. sailors from the USS Mount Whitney and Lithuanian sailors in June 2009. The project included widening of doorways and walls for greater ease of movement. This means that some immobile patients can now leave their rooms for the first time in years. The project also included painting and installing a new drop ceiling and wooden doors. In addition to the manpower, the U.S. Government provided $10,000 towards these efforts.

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Comments: 1

by LOHellman on August 24, 2012 :

As the USNavy I also help the RYTAS with a lot of things 1 ton and now in 2013 it willbe carpet rooms to the Dominitoria in city of Klaipeda to youngsters who are older than 18y.

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