Winter has arrived for many countries in Europe, and so has the celebration season. While some people prepare Christmas decorations and family plans, the streets get colder every day, with shorter daylight hours and widespread snowfall.
Munich can reach temperatures below zero at this time of the year, and not everybody has the privilege to enjoy this special time in a warm and safe place.
Luckily there are volunteers like Anne Lohri, Procurement Associate at Celonis, who support projects like “Weihnachten auf der Straße” (“Christmas on the Street”).
This project, run by a non-profit organization a few weeks before Christmas, provides people without housing with essentials for overcoming the cold months. Items include fuzzy blankets, raincoats, cards made by children to convey the spirit of Christmas, cookies, and thermoses filled with tea to warm up. The project intends to make Christmas time warmer and easier for them. As Anne said: “For me, Christmas is a cozy time to spend with your family and your friends in the comfort of your own home. But there are a lot of people out there who don't get to experience that.” The main goal is to transmit the feeling of being seen to those who aren't as fortunate.
Some may now wonder how Anne got connected to this project. It all started when her friend shared a post on Instagram. She had already been thinking about doing something impactful in the time before Christmas. Right after she saw the post from “Weihnachten auf der Straße” calling for helping hands, Anne decided to jump on board, “It was sheer luck. I wasn't searching for it.”
Within this Munich-based project, Anne is responsible for handling the logistics, packing the bags, and for the distribution afterward. One hundred need to be packed, that is why she decided to call out for help. More than fifteen Celonauts responded and committed to helping her on the 16th of December at Celonis’ Munich office.
She felt encouraged to share it with her colleagues because it is, on one hand, a local project, and on the other,“Celonis and especially Celonauts are really trying to make a change,broaden their horizon, and are willing to help others.” Some examples include Impact Day and the Aspire program.
“Honestly I have never worked for a company that had so many great initiatives. There are many people involved in great projects all around the world. It is great to have coworkers who care about these things.” A lot of Celonauts helped Anne to pack the bags in the Celonis office while others donated things or shared the project via social media.
When interviewing Anne, we recognized how grateful she is for all the people willing to help. As she said, “I was really surprised by the amount of people who are willing to donate their time.”
Although it is a lot of work, she truly believes it is worth it. One of the learnings that she shared with us was that “It is frightening how easy it is to lose your house or lose your apartment. Without a permanent address, it is very difficult to receive any help from social institutions. It is a chain reaction of unfortunate events. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are. I am glad that so many people decided to help because it is a problem that isn’t talked about enough.”
If this story moved you, check out the organization here and learn how you can get involved.