In 2020, which was marked by the pandemic, we began to engage with people without a fixed abode and drug addicts in both the Bonn and Cologne areas.
The background: Many previously established support services had been eliminated by the measures to contain the Corona pandemic, so that those who were already worse off in our society suffered particularly from the restrictions. With the onset of the cold season even more so.
Our reasoning: If the contact restrictions already so drastic for our families and ourselves and ourselves felt so drastic and challenging how did they have to be for the people on the street? people on the street be? People who are on their own, whose contacts with each other are now also prohibited, but who are equally crave address and companionship.
Carried by this thought, members of our association, including some parents with their children, collected donations of clothes, warm blankets, sleeping bags and food to give to the homeless. And to spend time together with them. What remains of the encounters is described by a volunteer of our association:
Oliver Drathen from Eitorf was on the road in Bonn together with Janine Mittelstädt, Christian Senftleben and Jürgen Perteck.
“Why did you get involved with homeless people and drug addicts?”
“During the Corona period, the support services for these people were extremely scaled back. Suddenly there were no more food distributions, well-known drop-in centers were closed. Cab drivers who occasionally brought food to the homeless were no longer on site. And then came the cold spell. A terrible performance. We thought about what we could do for these people and – in a very practical way – collected warm clothes, sleeping bags and blankets, made hot tea and coffee, packed cookies and sweets and set off, in threes or fours, to the familiar places in Bonn and Cologne, in the streets or subway stations.”
“How did you experience the meetings?”
“At first, there were rather reserved reactions. But when we started talking, they were very impressive encounters. After all, they are people like you and me. Who simply had bad luck in life. Or have experienced strokes of fate. I remember a young man, Matthias, in his late 20s, whose wife and child were suddenly torn from his life. He just couldn’t get over the loss and now lives on the street. Or a woman with her dog who kept trying in vain to find a place to live and was rejected everywhere.”
“What’s planned for the future?”
“In any case, there should be similar actions again next winter. In Cologne there is another action in this month of May and there are also more planned. We all had the impression that people were really happy that we were there. Yes, I think we gave them a real pleasure.”
Regular actions for people without shelter are also planned for the future. Helpers and supporters are always welcome.
Also in 2021, groups of volunteers undertook around around Angelina and Kyrill Brobowski, Elke and Anke Skwirblies and Andreas Zörbel Visits to people without a permanent residence in Cologne. The actions are continuously continued and spontaneously initiated. Additional helpers are always welcome. The group captured the impressions of one day in a very personal video:
Before Christmas, Anke and Elke Skwirblies, Andreas Zörbel and Kathrin Anderseck were out and about in Cologne providing hot drinks, Christmas cookies and warm blankets to people with no fixed abode. The blog post is available here: Christmas in Cologne.
In Bonn on the same weekend Christian Senftleben, Anthea and Jürgen Perteck and Janine and Oliver Drathen were on the road. The group was accompanied by Frank Strebel, local editor of Schaufenster Bonn, who presented an impressive Report on the action published for us. In our press review.
On the occasion of the devastating flood disaster, we from Menschenfreude e.V. called for donations via social media. Within a very short time, we were pleased to receive donations of more than 3,700€, with which we were able to support families in the Rhein-Sieg district as well as in the district of Ahrweiler.
Among other things, we have given money to people who have partially or completely lost their homes. Likewise, we supported an initiative from Alfter that delivered hot lunches to villages cut off from the power grid for weeks.
Learn more about our flood victim fundraiser in this blog post.
In addition, our volunteer Anke Skwirblies has called for another fundraising campaign in cooperation with her employer, TÜV Rheinland. Here, donations in kind from all over Germany came together, which we sorted in our Swisttal warehouse and brought to the crisis areas.
Insights into this great action can be found here:
In cooperation with the Koblenz Clinic Clowns around our partner Sylvia Siener, we started in 2021 to visit elderly people and reach them through the colorful means of emotional theater, for example in the Alfter Senior Center. More info about the Klinik-Clowns Koblenz e.V. here.
On the initiative of our volunteer Christian Senftleben, who has been working for people without a permanent residence in Germany and Norway for years, there was a special city walk through Bonn in February. The former homeless Melanie invited to experience firsthand her view of the city, the reality of life for people without a permanent home.
Melanie and her husband as well as other Bonn people without a permanent residence were supported in advance by our association. It was possible to organize a room for Melanie. The young woman now earns her living with these city tours. If you are interested in a city tour from the point of view of a former homeless person, feel free to write us an email and we will forward it to Christian Senftleben.
Anyone who would like to support such and similar actions is cordially invited to help. Volunteer as an employee in our association or as a supporter – we appreciate every contribution and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.