These gifts will not reach their destination until after saint's eve, but the recipients will still be happy without reservation. Every christmas, the johanniters collect food parcels to bring to needy families in the rural regions of eastern europe. At the ehrenburg-gymnasium forchheim (EGF), participation has become a tradition. Jonas firsching, who graduated from the EGF in 2018, was able to accompany the tour of the regional association of nurnberg to northern romania last year. He was able to see for himself what the campaign achieves and how the recipients react to the packages.
The christmas trucker campaign of the johanniter was launched in 1993, and a solid network was established. The forchheim high school has been taking part since 2003. In the meantime, thanks to numerous donations from schoolchildren, parents and colleagues, the EGF is at the top of the list of all schools in northern bavaria. On the occasion of this 25th anniversary, teacher christina rauh asked her high school students who would be interested in accompanying lorand szuszner, the permanent contact person and convoy leader for many years, on the christmas trip. Despite the prospect of free time during the christmas vacations, jonas firsching agreed to go.
It all started on the morning of the second christmas holiday, says the former schoolboy. The truckers' journey via hungary took a total of two days. From the distribution centers in northern romania, cluj-napoca and bistritz, parcel distribution was then organized with the help of the partner organization tasu. The helpers loaded the paid-off boxes into smaller sprinters, as the roads away from the rough towns were often not paved. "From bistritz we drove another four hours over the mountains and worked our way back from there", says the 19-year-old.
Rough differences between town and country
"People in the city tend to be privileged in romania. In the countryside there is still a lot of unrest", says principal karlheinz schoofs, who praises the social attitude of his school. This was reported to him by a colleague who teaches in romania. In order to create the same starting point for all the recipients, the packages will be filled with basic foodstuffs and toys for the children (see info box). The schools that receive the packages are selected according to income and need in the region, says firsching.
"Every child gets a box, he reports. The fact that the aid packages are distributed through the schools is intended to indirectly motivate parents to send their children to school, adds teacher rauh. Because in many regions, the youngest members of the population still often had to work at home instead of attending classes. "The campaign is also a way of helping people to help themselves", according to firsching.
The drivers of the trucks all did the work on a voluntary basis, some even took vacation time for this time between the years. All in all, the helpers distributed around 22.600 packs in north rumania. 18 trucks were on the road for this, female the 19-year old.
At the end of each tour the gratitude was rough. Many had expressed their joy in addition, a "thank you" writing on the truck tarpaulins covered with mud and snow, says firsching.
A different attitude
He was particularly surprised by the willingness to help from the romanian side. The partner organization tasu as well as the police, teachers and many others have helped as a matter of course. He had also noticed the special attitude of many residents. "They often have little themselves and still invite you to eat", reports the 19-year-old.
At the first moment the effect seems to be only a drop on the heiben stone. But it is more a sign of appreciation, the truckers give people courage and hope, as firsching also describes in his experience report. On thursday, he presented it to some of the school's classes. He says that the students were very interested in his photos and stories and asked him many questions.
Around 120 pre-packed boxes are already standing in the entrance hall of the grammar school. Experience has shown that about 300 people will be there by the pickup date on the 20th. December, says rauh. For a few years now, the johanniter have also been providing the necessary boxes. Christina rauh sees last year's participation by firsching as "motivation for the future".
Jonas firsching began his voluntary service with the red cross after graduating from high school. He would like to go again next year in any case. This time as an active member instead of a reporter.
How can you help?
Until next friday, the parcels can be delivered until 8.30 o'clock at the EGF.
The packing list includes: 2 kg of sugar, 2 liters of cooking oil (plastic bottle), 2 shower gels, 3 kg of flour, 3 packages of cookies, 1 hand cream, 1 kg of rice, 5 bars of chocolate, 2 toothbrushes, 1 kg of pasta, 500 g of cocoa powder, 2 tubes of toothpaste, 3 packages of multivitamin effervescent tablets, gifts for children