Bamberger calls for solidarity: how to help the homeless and others in need

Staying at home, washing hands, avoiding social contact and buying supplies – this is possible for everyone if they have an apartment and enough money. But how do homeless and needy people get through the corona crisis??

Paul lehmann from bamberg has answered this question for himself and started a campaign to help. He turned the chain bridge into a "donation bridge" without further ado converted. His video explaining the action on facebook has now been viewed over 10,000 times and shared over 1,000 times – and apparently understood, because the people of bamburg are taking part. For good reason, because homeless people are currently particularly at risk because their bodies are weakened by living on the streets and they can only isolate themselves poorly.

It’s about every day

Lehmann, who works as a trade union secretary for verdi and has long been on the city council list of the "bamberg left", among others (bali) ran for office, thinks help is needed despite warmestube: "shame plays a gross role in poverty. People may not want to go to such spaces, but need quick help to get through the difficult times." He asks that bags of food be hung on the bridge and has provided washclips for this purpose "please do not use perishable goods and write on them what is in the bag". The action should not only benefit the homeless, but also other needy people, such as those receiving hartz 4 benefits or single parents.

Keyword "warmestube": the meeting place "menschen in not" (people in need) offers one still at. There the needy can stay during the day, get food and take a shower. The bamberger warmestube, which pays up to 18,000 visitors a year and serves 50 to 70 people a weekday, remains open while similar facilities have already closed in many german cities.

Leader peter klein declares: "we will remain open until we are forced to close by a corona case. Every day that we gain is good, because in the summer the homeless are not so dependent on a warm room." But of the 20 or so employees, only a small team is still on site; klein has asked volunteers over 60 to stay at home for their own protection.

To limit the risk of closure, employees work in two separate groups. If someone from the first group falls ill, the second group can continue to keep the warm room open. They keep their distance from the visitors to the hot tub, each of whom now sits alone at a table.

The city’s emergency shelters also remain open. According to city spokeswoman ulrike siebenhaar, the process has been made less bureaucratic. People now sleep there mostly in single rooms and visitors are forbidden. Since there are three separate shelters, the homeless can still get a warm place to sleep even in a corona case.

Meaningful addition

Lehmann sees his initiative as a supplement to the warm place to sleep. And also to the bamberger tafel, which collects food of impeccable quality and gives it to those in need for a symbolic amount or free of charge. It has been closed for a few days. "The people have stayed away of their own accord", reports wilhelm dorsch, chairman of the bamberger tafel. "Last saturday there were over a hundred people here, in the last few days there have been only a quarter of them."

However, the tafel has set up an emergency service: when someone calls, employees bring food directly to the caller. They had enough food, says dorsch, because the closed farms supply them with food. He supports the idea of the donation bridge: "everything that helps is good". Whether that will last remains to be seen."

Very high approval

Lehmann is already pleased about "very high approval" to his appeal to the burgers: "i myself have seen people hanging bags and not even a minute later the donation bag was taken away by a needy person." He hopes that this will continue. Ulrike siebenhaar, however, sees the lack of control as a problem. She urges burgers to donate food to the tafel or "people in need" instead to give. Peter klein also has concerns about hygiene: "the high hygiene rules that also apply in our country are difficult to ensure in the kettenbrucke." More important to him is an appeal to all burgers to pay special attention to those in need at this time: "you should look: is the person doing well, is he still moving?? If not, you have to call the police or the emergency doctor."

Also something positive

Lehmann, on the other hand, sees no risk in his relief action, as long as only closed and durable food is put into the bags. And he doesn’t fear abuse either: "i don’t think that wealthy people take the donations because the shame of getting caught is too gross." Wilhelm dorsch of the bamberger tafel also has no qualms: "it’s no big deal if someone perhaps also takes too much." Who needs something, take it. If that works, dorsch is happy: "then the crisis will have something positive and people will pay more attention to the next day."

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