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The Beginning of Lithuanian Mercy Lift

 

When Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990, Gorbachev took steps to crush the independence movement. In April 1990, the Soviet Union declared an embargo that cut off Lithuania from shipments of medicine and other necessities.

 

The Lithuanian Hotline, a communications quick-response center organized during the embargo, learned that insulin was urgently needed to treat diabetics in Lithuania. A shipment of insulin and antibiotics was quickly organized bypassing the embargo.

 

This one humanitarian effort grew into a realization that there was a need for ongoing medical assistance to Lithuania. On April 19, 1990, the members of the Lithuanian Hotline established a new working group, Lithuanian Mercy Lift, to fulfill that need.

 


Medical Shipments

 

That first humanitarian shipment led to a successful program that provided donated drugs and medical supplies to hospitals, orphanages and nursing homes throughout Lithuania. In 2004, LML achieved a milestone when it shipped its final, 612th, 40 foot container reaching a total value of donated medical goods of $123.8 million! 

 


Healthcare Programs

 

Lithuania was struggling to improve a healthcare system neglected under the Soviet era. LML became committed to launching programs to benefit the public healthcare system and to improve the self-sufficiency of the medical community in Lithuania.

 

Over time, LML programs focused on a wide variety of needs including: TB, newborn care, vision care, dental care, environmental health, breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, the handicapped, renovations of hospitals and nursing homes, health education for children and adults, health professional exchange programs, seminars, and ambulances. Please see Rainbow of Programs for today’s projects.

 


United States & Lithuanian Relations

 

The United States established diplomatic relations with Lithuania on July 28, 1922. The Soviet invasion forced the closure of the Legation to Lithuania on September 5, 1940, but Lithuanian representation in the United States continued uninterrupted. The United States never recognized the forcible incorporation of Lithuania into the U.S.S.R. and views the present Government of Lithuania as a legal continuation of the interwar republic.

 

In 2007, the United States and Lithuania celebrated 85 years of continuous diplomatic relations. Lithuania has enjoyed most-favored-nation treatment with the United States since December 1991. Since 1992, the United States has committed more than $100 million in Lithuania to economic and political transformation and to humanitarian needs. The United States and Lithuania signed an agreement on bilateral trade and intellectual property protection in 1994 and a bilateral investment treaty in 1997. In 1998, the United States signed a "Charter of Partnership" with Lithuania and the other Baltic countries establishing bilateral working groups focused on improving regional security, defense, and economic issues.


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Lithuanian Mercy Lift  P.O. Box 88 Palos Heights, IL 60463 U.S.A.  |  (708) 636-6140