We wanted to celebrate some of the altruistic actions and initiatives that have emerged in Berlin during the corona crisis, and let you guys know any ways in which you might be able to help if you feel compelled.
Gaben Zaun (Gift Fence).
Gaben Zaun - or “Gift Fence” in English - is exactly as it sounds. It’s an initiative that maps out fences in Germany that have been designated for donations for at-risk individuals during the crisis - whether that be at-risk economically or health-wise. I first heard about Gaben Zaun from Jessi of Baldon during our interview and after checking their website, I saw there was a gift fence just around the corner from me. It’s super easy to donate, you just fill a bag with a few essential groceries and tie it onto the fence. Something as simple as some tins of beans and a packet of pasta might really help alleviate some of the daily stresses of an individual or a family who are suffering and either don’t want to venture to the supermarket for financial reasons, or they would feel physically unsafe doing so. Check here for a full guide on how to donate. There are already 64 Gift Fences in Berlin! But if there’s still not one in your neighbourhood, then you can designate one yourself.
Kocken Füer Helden (Cooking For Heroes).
#CookingForHeroes was the brainchild of Maximillian Strohe and Ilona Scholl, the owners of the Michelin-starred restaurant Tulus Lotrek in Kreuzberg. Despite the lockdown restrictions leaving their business’ future in an uneasy state, they wanted to do something to help, so they decided to put their culinary expertise to good use and cook for frontline COVID workers. They recognised that the new restrictions had left a lot of kitchens empty and a lot chefs with free time, so they threw up the bat signal and soon enough they’d developed a network of volunteering restaurants enthusiastic to support. Using donations from small producers and supermarkets, restaurants supporting the Cooking For Heroes movement have since provided thousands of daily meals to frontline COVID workers such as hospital staff, nurses in old people’s homes, helpers in corona test centres and more. If you feel you’d like to help, you can do so through their crowdfunding page.
Berlin wine store Viniculture is also donating 10% of their wine delivery revenue to the Cooking For Heroes movement (who isn’t a fan of giving to charity by drinking wine?).
Hot Meals for Berlin’s Homeless During the Lockdown.
Since the repercussions of the pandemic have limited the operational ability of homelessness charities, many on the streets have been left in even more troubling situations. Enter Bab al-Jinan. Bab al-Jinan are a Syrian street food and catering service run by former refugees. Despite being hit hard by the crisis financially they have been providing up to 70 hot meals a day - 7 days a week - to Berlin’s homeless population.
Free Accommodation to Healthcare Workers.
5-star-hotel Adlon Kempinski has offered free overnight stays at their Brandenberg Gate location to any Berlin doctors or nurses working during the crisis, which can be redeemed all the way until March 2021, “In order to thank the great Berlin heroes of the day for their self-sacrificing efforts”. To redeem a stay, Berlin healthcare staff must email email@example.com with the subject line “Heroes in Health Care” - if you know any, let them know!
Buying Coffee for Berlin’s Frontline Heroes.
As the tireless, droning shifts continue throughout Berlin’s hospitals, coffee is likely an important energy supplement for frontline staff. With this in mind, popular coffee roaster The Barn has added an option in their online store for buying coffee for Berlin’s healthcare workers. For massively reduced prices, you can order The Barn’s award-winning speciality coffee to be delivered to Berlin’s hospitals, providing the amazing frontline staff with a likely much-needed pick me up.
How You Might Be Able to Help.
If you’re reading this, inspired by the altruism of the Berlin community, but saddened by the feeling that you don’t have the resources to help, then don’t worry. You, yourself, can be a valuable resource. Volunteering platform Vostel has compiled a list of all their volunteering opportunities that relate to the current crisis - and many of them you can do from the safety of your own home. These include making fun videos to send to children isolating in a refugee shelter, writing postcards to people with limited contacts, or leading online language groups as a language tutor. See the full list of opportunities here.
We’re sure there are hugely positive initiatives doing great work which haven’t quite reached our ears yet. So if you’ve heard of something which you think deserves some extra attention, please reach out to us and let us know so we can add it to the list.
Words by Ewan Waddell.