Helping Refugee Relief Centers in Potsdam/Berlin, Germany

Why this page?

There is nearly always a shortage of hygienic supplies in the refugee relief centers. For a refugee, having at least some daily necessities covered by humanitarian aid goes a long way to stretch the already thin budget, to ease the burden on host families, to give a bit of personal control back. This is why the demand continues to be high.

The overwhelming majority of goods distributed in these centers are coming from the personal donations, either in kind, or with money. Unfortunately, many volunteers and volunteer organizations are running "on fumes" resource-wise, especially in peak hours.

The donations in kind are most welcome, because they usually bypass a few long steps like procurement, shipping, sorting, intermediate storage, and they can smooth out the peak demand within hours. For many weeks now, I took it as daily chore to replenish local distribution centers from the local shops. It is a somewhat expensive exercise, and many suggested they could chip in, hence this page.

Who this page is for?

If you can do what I do yourself, please do so. The bottleneck is frequently the lack of actual helper people on the ground, especially after many have burned out already.

This page is mostly for those who are willing to help, but are too far away from European and/or large cities, where there is a significant presence of local refugees. If you reside in large European city, it is very likely you have local relief organizations, consider donating and volunteering at them instead of helping through me! My capacity is rather limited, and organizations are much more scalable.

Where does this help go?

At this point, most of the supplies go to the shelves at DRK Refugee Relief tent at Potsdam Bassinplatz. Those exact shelves behind me on this picture:

When that tent stops accept donations, I plan to bring the supplies to AWO Help Stands at Potsdam Central Station and to the Hygiene Stand at Berlin Central Station.

I also plan to leave some buffer of the gift cards at relief sites, so that other volunteers can do their own supply runs when the shelves run low.

The logistics plan for Potsdam works as follows:

The logistics plan for Berlin when I am able to go there works as follows:

How can you help?

Given my interesting residency and citizenship situation, I cannot accept money contributions. But, I will happily go to the shops and carry out the goods purchased using your help. For online orders and direct delivery, I will make sure that the orders you paid for had been delivered to relevant sites and are put to good use. In other words, I will handle the logistics side of this endeavor.

Preferred: Pay the open shop DM/Rossmann invoices

This is the most effective way to help. I am bulk ordering quite a few items that are nearly always in demand, paying with bank transfers. It is effective, because these purchases follow the predicted short-term demand, obvious from the situation on site. It is quick for you, because the order is already set up, including the proper delivery address.

If you are willing to help here, great! Note this involves quite a bit of back and forth. Euro bank transfers within European Economic Area take 1 business day to settle; other transfers take progressively longer. If you are outside EEA or cannot transfer in Euro, please consider other options!

(Un)fortunately, there are no open invoices at this time.

Can I see what you did with my help?

Technically, I track down where each card/invoice was spent or pooled, what goods were purchased on it and when, but I don't publish it by default, because the overhead is substantial. Contact me if you are really curious about where your card/invoice went, I would happily dig that info out.

Meanwhile, the sight of goods, purchased with bulk invoice, waiting for delivery:

A usual shopping cart, about to be paid for with a gift card, ballparking at about 100 EUR:

Who have helped already?

In this section, I would like to publicly thank the the contributors to this cause. Without them, this whole thing would be out of budget and completely dead long time ago.

Don't worry, I would not publish your name without your consent. Without it, you would be counted as "anonymous contributor".

In lazy alphabetical order: