1. Initial situation and motivation
In Austria, Switzerland and Germany there are more and more people each year, that cannot afford a place to live due to financial and family-related reasons and therefore become homeless. The number of teenagers and even children among them is increasing.
In such cases, life in winter can turn out to be a real struggle for survival.
That’s why the Oronos® foundation started the project „Wärme schenken“. It was carried out by the cooperating associations Oronos® in Switzerland, children beyond the world® Germany and children beyond the world® Austria.
2. Project goal
The projects goal is to support people in need with warm clothing, blankets and sleeping bags, so they are less cold and able to manage life on the street better.
In terms of „we look out for each other“, it’s our concern to relieve the distress of suffering people in the three countries and to enforce empathy, solidarity and community.
We also wanted to address publicly that the measures in regard to the pandemic are causing an economic and humanitarian crisis, next to the health crisis.
Many families and children slipped into poverty and for some that even meant to live on the street without the opportunity to keep themselves warm or healthy.
With a team of volunteers the three associations make tours in the winter months through chosen spots in their three countries.
The required winter clothes, blankets and sleeping bags are partly donated and partly sponsored from clothing companies.
We built up connections with social workers, homeless shelters and other social organisations to get information about the situation in specific places. That’s how we choose when to be where, and what would be needed the most.
The goods were transported in big cars, private vehicles and vans to the chosen spots and were personally handed out to the people in need.
The project got advertised through the associations websites, social media and through articles in regional newspapers.
4. Profitability report
With the project we were able to reach homeless people and people in need of all ages, that went to look for help in social facilities.
In Austria, Germany and Switzerland the teams managed to give away warm jackets, shoes, gloves, scarves, blankets and sleeping bags on 15 places in 13 cities (2020 -2021).
Cooperation’s with homeless shelters, daytime facilities, emergency overnight accommodations and church-run institutions like the Caritas.
We could help out up to 70 people on each spot.
We also left items with the organisations to give to people in the upcoming weeks and months after our visit.
The willingness to give showed us that the public’s solidarity is strong when the spotlight is focused on a situation that requires support.
It was important to us, to show the public, that many people suffer from the pandemic’s economic consequences. Unfortunately, we had to experience, that the city councils downplay or negate the topic of homelessness.
Yet, the cooperating social organisations reported on the continuously growing poverty and lack of emergency overnight accommodation. They were very appreciative of our support.
In conversations with the affected people in need, we learned that, next to the lack of money and the fear of the cold it is mostly loneliness and hopelessness that they suffer from. We got a lot of thankfulness for our kind and empowering words, that gave them warmth and hope as well.
We will pursue this project as long as there is no easing of tension in sight. On the contrary, we believe that the need for projects as such will even increase, when the scale of damage done by the pandemic will be revealed.
At the same time, we see a growing compassion and kindness in the population. Many people want to be a part of the solution, that will help to cover suffering people’s basic needs.
Our associations give everyone the opportunity to actively contribute something and to be part of a project or a relief action.