On the road in sub-zero temperatures – visits to people with no fixed abode – expansion of projects planned


With the beginning of the cold season, teams of Menschenfreude e.V. were again increasingly on the road in Cologne and Bonn to visit people without a fixed abode. In addition to the distribution of food and winter-proof textiles, this time it was also about the idea of resocialization: so it was possible to organize a hostel for some over the Christmas days. There has also been help with visits to the authorities. Young people will soon be involved in similar projects.
Menschenfreude Obdachlose Dez22

On the streets of Cologne in December, Anke and Elke Skwirblies and Andreas Zörbel were on the road again. The group has been involved with people on the streets for many years, sometimes maintaining personal contacts and offering assistance. Sometimes as a spontaneous conversation and sometimes with a lot of time in hand on a Saturday in December.

The commitment is important to our volunteers and they are always good meetings at eye level. A report on a day with the Cologne team from 2021 can be found here.

Anke, Elke and Andreas Zörbel on the road in Cologne

Bonn: hotel accommodation on holidays

The Bonn team around Anna and Christian Senftleben, Tanja Wiesner, Judith and Stefan JohnKai Werner and Jürgen Perteck were able to go one step further this year. Thus, one hotel enabled a total of three people to have a roof over their heads.

From December 22 to January 6, 2023, overnight accommodations could be provided with the help of generous donations from the Rotary Club Bonn-Rheinbrücke . We thank you very much for this opportunity in the name of the people we could make happy on this day !

Christian explains the background: “Due to the current energy-saving measures, the lives of the homeless have also become even more difficult. Passages are less heated, shop windows are less illuminated. There is an increase in assaults, especially on women.”

Quiet sleep for a few days

The joy and relief of no longer being exposed to sub-zero temperatures and the danger of assault, at least for a few days, was great. Simon, who lives on the street with his wife Nadja, was very touched: “With us, fate has struck so many times. Maybe fate means well with us for once today.”  

A hostel for the Christmas holidays – Thanks to our member Kai Werner for the nice impressions !

Help with official matters

Beyond the specific relief action, we have remained in contact with the people on the street. This was also the case with Simon and his wife: The two had lost custody of their two children due to strokes of fate. Dealing with authorities caused them problems. The warm nights with a roof over their heads had given them both new courage to “finally sleep through the night again and wake up with a fresh head and good thoughts.” 

Another great gesture: The Shell Germany team around Rinus Presselmayr had baked and donated Christmas cookies especially for the people without a permanent address. Thank you !

Our Menschenfreude team is working to harness this good energy and pave the way for more help back to normalcy. For example, in obtaining new identification documents, applying for government assistance, and finding housing. Not only for Nadja and Simon, but for several people without a permanent residence from Bonn.

Off the street – at least for a few days – and maybe longer through help with resocialization

Cooperation launched: Homeless projects also with a school in Poland

The commitment to people without a fixed abode is to be expanded even further. Because not only in Germany, but also in Poland, more and more people are living on the streets. In cooperation with the “Gaudium et Studium Private IB High School” in Poznan, Poland, students are encouraged to help their fellow human beings. This is to take place together with their peers from our German partner schools in the Cologne and Bonn area. Talks to this effect are underway.

In November we had – Lars Ertzinger and Jürgen Perteck – the opportunity to give local young people an insight into our work. Thanks to principal Piotr Gulewicz and Aleksandra 
 on site ! This was followed by a walk-through at a homeless shelter, where we were able to talk to people and make further plans . 

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