On December 1, the Christmas parcel convoy set off from Hanau (Germany) on its journey to Eastern Europe in the bright winter sun to bring joy to children in need. In his speech, Ewald Raben praised the success of the campaign.
“The secret of being able lies in wanting. The commitment of the many children and volunteers to the convoy is impressive.” — said the CEO of the Raben Group.
A total of 173 161 parcels have been collected this year with 38 trucks accompanied by 293 volunteers going to Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania. They bring the gifts to kindergartens, schools, children’s homes, orphanages and clinics.
The gifts have been packed by children from all over Germany and will be transported and personally distributed by volunteers. The first parcels arrived at the regional collection points of Round Table, Ladies' Circle, Tangent Club, Old Tablers as well as friends and supporters shortly after the summer holidays. The parcels were sorted at the collection points and before departure all parcels arrived at the central warehouse of Raben Trans European Germany in Mülheim-Kärlich, where they were placed on pallets ready for the convoy's journey.
Ewald’s brother Marco Raben, managing director of Raben Trucking & Rental GmbH, is one of volunteers on his way as a driver with parcel convoy. He is accompanied by his collegue Marcus Holzmann.
“Me and my brother Ewald are the third Raben generation. My granddad started the company. Then my father and uncle took over. At that time, the first transport went to Poland. It laid the background for us to get further into the countries of Eastern Europe with time, Ukraine among them. But these days we are doing not only business here, having 24 depots over the country. I am also a volunteer for driving one of Raben’s trucks and I have a special mission — delivering presents for children in need for the Christmas parcel convoy. This year we drove with 8 trucks to Ukraine. Our destinations are Lviv, Kherson, Odessa and Odessa region.” — comments Marco Raben.
The convoy with Marco Raben and Marcus Holzmann visits only special schools. One of the schools was for children who can hear very badly or are deaf and can speak with their fingers. This visit made a big impression on the volunteers.
“I still can remember one boy opening the parcel and taking one present after another. He was so happy. And those are the moments you will never forget, those are the moments that inspire you.” — adds Marco Raben.
Because so many people wanted to give joy, the Christmas parcel convoy grew from year to year. First convoy started in 2001.
"We brought first presents to the school in Timișoara (Western Romania) for Christmas and saw the joy of the children, which motivated us to keep on sharing our love.” — says Maksim Ljubaskin, team leader for the Christmas parcel convoy.
Since that time convoy grew in scale and expanded its geographical scope to three other countries in Eastern Europe — Ukraine, Bulgaria and Moldova. The convoy has been present in Ukraine already for 10 years. This year is a record of presents.
“We are happy to be in Ukraine. We like this beautiful country, its nature and its children. In Ukraine, we go to orphanages and special institutions for deaf and blind children. We are in touch with special organizations who are dealing with children who live in the families with the low social status or those who appeared to be in some special situations when there is only one member in the family. We also help children who are defined as orphans by their country (because they parents abuse alcohol or drugs). And it is a very difficult situation emotionally not only for the children, but also for us, volunteers. The Christmas parcels we deliver are made by the children living in decent conditions for the children in need and we are more than sure these presents will enlighten the lives of the latter.” — explains Maksim Ljubaskin.
The employees of the Raben Group also volunteered for the Christmas parcel convoy. They brought their lovingly packed parcels home with them, helped to pack the many arriving parcels in outer cartons and sometimes traveled with the convoy to distribute the parcels.
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Klaudyna Polanowska- Skrzypek
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