While supporting small local businesses is important, we need to keep an eye out for those, who are even more affected by the current pandemic and are too often ignored in the urge to help. Homeless people, refugees, and other people in need are in even more dire situations when stay at home orders are in effect and enforced. The situation at Europe’s boarders is even more awful, even though that is hard to imagine. The pressure and stress on the people working in jobs that are “relevant to keep up the system” is unimaginable, and at the same time nurses, caretakers, delivery people and supermarket staff are massively underpaid. It’s important to take care of ourselves so much, that we can start taking care of others in need. To make it easier for you, I compiled a list of many local and some global initiatives to support right now. Please add more in the comments.
Support Homeless People
Homeless people are experiencing an especially hard time, not only is it hard to social distance and keep a sufficient hygiene without a proper home, since the streets and trains are empty their main source of income is unavailable. They are also especially affected by any strict enforcement of the current confinement rules, like the restriction to sitting on park benches. On top of it, many supporting institutions had to close down or limit their services. So here are options how to provide support and donate:
Karuna is a Verein supporting people in need, and they are currently distributing money and food to homeless around their main spot in Friedrichshain. Donate via betterplace. They are also a driving force behind the request to turn hotels and hostels into temporary shelters.
Stadtmission is the charity organisation of the protestant church, and one of the biggest caretakers of homeless in Berlin. They started a new initiative called #NothilfeBerlin to help in the current situation, with which they provide a helpline, care packages, as well as the production of masks and protective gear. You can donate directly here.
Die Tafeln are food banks with affordable products based on donations, many of them had to close due to the virus. They have just started with delivery of food packages to people in need, you can donate on their website.
Be An Angel is the Verein behind Syrian restaurant Kreuzberger Himmel, who are now very active in getting meals to people in need. You can donate here.
Spendenzaun / “Donation fences” – at several spots in Berlin spontaneous charity fences came up because people started leaving bags with donations of clothes, food, and hygienic articles for people in need. The idea originated in Hamburg in 2017 and is praised for being a low-threshold option. Keep an eye out for one in your area and start supplying it.
Support Refugees & Migrants
While we’re busy re-organising our own lives, it’s easy to forget the situation of people at the European boarders, especially in the abysmal refugee camps, where personal hygiene and social distancing just aren’t possible. Europe’s politics are putting the people in these camps in great danger. Here’s how you can help:
Support Seawatch and their call to send currently idle cruise ships to evacuate refugee camps, donate here. Other civil sea rescue initiatives are SOS Mediterranee and Sea Eye, whose rescue ship is currently the only one in the Mediterranean Sea, even more organisations are here.
Doctors without Borders are also involved in the fight against the virus, especially helping migrants and homeless, for example in France and Italy, and in the refugee camps in Greece. You can donate here.
Many people are hit by the current economic downfall, and while politicians are busy finding solutions, here are petitions you can sign which demand the emergency support to be better:
Instead of loans and temporary funding, this petition calls for unconditional basic income for the time of the crisis, sign it here.
The current Kurzarbeitergeld makes sure employees receive 60% of their usual pay, however, this doesn’t cover the cost of living for many. This petition calls for 90% short time payment, sign it here.
Support Hospital Staff
The crisis is stressful for everyone, but inarguably more so for people working on the front lines: nurses and doctors, pharmacists, supermarket staff and more. Their jobs are essential to get us through, so here’s how to support them:
Kochen für Helden (Cooking for Heroes) is an initiative that started with one pot of Gulasch made by restaurant Tulus Lotrek and delivered to a local hospital. It has grown into a national movement with dozens of participating restaurants in just two weeks, who are now cooking for hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets. A donation site is being developed, you can currently support via their website.
Barcomis has set up their own delivery service and additionally offers care packages, Krankenhaus Kraft Pakete, for selected local hospitals that you can easily order on their website.
Sounds like a no-brainer, but the current crisis has also led to a decline in blood donations which are now needed more than ever.
Blood donations are organised by the German Red Cross, find the next dates and locations here.