It was Christmas time again when the German management of logistics company EMO TRANS came up with this brilliant idea: “Let’s stop sending greeting cards, giveaways, calendars, or other gifts to customers as we have always done in the past.” This old habit might please some of the recipients, but it is not sustainable and very time-consuming, the management reasoned. Instead, they decided to commit to something more useful, engaging in social projects.
EMO-TRANS manager Bernhard Stock (2nd from right) hands over a cheque of 8,000 euros to Stan Albers, head of the children’s home, much appreciated by Baerenherz Ambassador and TV moderator Babette von Kienlin, flanked by EMO managers Stefan Ritter (far left), Randolph Reichel and Thomas Klinkhammer (far right) - pictures: CFG / hs
This U-turn on Christmas presents came to the manager’s mind more than 15 years ago and led to EMO-TRANS Germany having to quickly decide on a candidate: one that fitted the forwarding agent’s
social intentions and would be considered suitable for long-term support.
As so often in life, the decision in favor of the Baerenherz foundation was taken after a coincidental meeting between EMO’s Bernhard Stock and some Baerenherz representatives.
Every cent goes where it is meant to go
“At that moment, it was clear to me that this organization was our desired candidate,” he recalls. They are located near Frankfurt, so they are easy to reach, they need every conceivable support and - a particularly important difference to large humanitarian organizations: every single cent of a donation benefits the children and not a bureaucratic apparatus.
This he explained while driving to a little Hessian town bearing the hard-to-pronounce name, Heidenrod-Laufenselden, and located 60 kilometers northwest of Frankfurt, in the foothills of the Taunus mountains.
Heidenrod-Laufenselden is home to the 12 multiply disabled Baerenherz children and their nursing staff.
Two hours later, after visiting the accommodation, chatting with the personnel and taking a tour through the children’s home, he and the EMO-TRANS executives, Stefan Ritter, Thomas Klinkhammer and Randolph Reichel, handed over a check for 8,000 euros to Baerenherz Chief, Stan Albers. An amount that is more than a drop in the ocean. “It’s a wonderful and much appreciated aid, since we depend on sponsors such as EMO-TRANS to support our children in the best possible way,” stated MD Albers when receiving the donation.
Different means of communication
The sight of the children is heart-wrenching. All of them are disabled for life, resulting from grave accidents, wrong medication, or are disabled from birth due to genetic malfunctions. Every fate is a unique and requires special professional care around the clock by the team of 30 nursing staff at the foundation. Most of the children are unable to walk, with few exceptions they have to be fed by the staff, and grave cerebral deficits impede their language development making even simple conversation impossible. “But if you know them better, you can understand what they want and what their needs are through their gestures and facial expressions,” explains Mr. Albers. “They communicate with us and we communicate with them,” he says, emphasizing that a severe multiple disability is not a disease.
Each of the children has an own room which is equipped according to the needs of the respective child, in close consultation with the parents.
Back next December – at the latest
After caring for disabled children for more than 20 years, the Baerenherz foundation has gained wide support. Among the backers are all kinds of people, including some celebrities. One of them is TV moderator, Babette von Kienlin, who is Baerenherz’s Ambassador and a member of the Board of Trustees. She joined the foundation shortly before her daughter was born, 18 years ago. Ever since, Babette has supported Baerenherz whenever and wherever possible.
“Our trustees, but not only them, are so grateful that your company sponsors Baerenherz so generously year after year. Above all, this helps the children because they need every conceivable support,” Mrs Kienlin thanked the EMO team collectively.
“We’ll be back next December, maybe even earlier,” replied Bernhard Stock, when it was time for the EMO-TRANS managers to leave.