Boxes upon boxes, travel bags with clothes piled up in the apartment. Fax and telephone simply could not stand still. This is how the life of nadine keilich looked like a few weeks ago. The theme was the flood disaster in june, the social network facebook and the helpfulness of keilich. In the end, several trucks with furniture, clothing and other relief supplies drove to gera and pirna.
But the story has to be told from the beginning in order to understand its special nature: the terrible reports from the flood areas in the elbe valley and the helplessness of the desperate people in the face of their material loss moved nadine keilich. Then she made up her mind: "there must be help for this situation." The internet came to her aid. Without further ado, she opened the page "sonnefeld helps flood victims" on the social network facebook, described their concern, appealed in solidarity to the willingness to donate and published their address for delivery.
"After a short time, my home was full of donations", remembers keilich. With positive comments and a click on the "like" button private individuals pledged their support.
"Within a few days I had 1000 new friends", remembers keilich and thus numerous supporters. Additionally she loved to print 5000 flyers and 30 posters – sponsored by a company from weidhausen.
This company was by no means the only one from the local economy. Many others provided vehicles, packing materials and other items. "We didn't have to pay anything out of our own pockets for the campaign. We had a lot of support", emphasizes keilich. Even on the radio there was a short report. "People really came from all over", according to the initiator.
From then on, their phones never stopped ringing. The fax machine spat out long lists with descriptions of the items provided. Again and again, the helpers found out about the facebook page. "I was surprised by the amount of solidarity", says the initiator looking back.
Early on, there was not enough space
A room in her house was rapidly filled with boxes, suitcases, and travel bags. The garage was no less chaotic, with donations piled up to the ceiling.
But the help came about through the mediation of the municipal administration. The empty hummel exhibition hall of the company max schultz could be used as a warehouse.
"Anyone could have had the idea and put it into practice", mayor rainer marr (CSU) comments on the overwhelming success of the appeal for donations. She certainly had, and she can be proud of it, even in the opinion of the head of the municipality.
The young mother's self-imposed modesty was not appropriate because of the unforeseeable response. "When it comes down to it, the solidarity is right", marr underlines the willingness to donate.
A whole hall full of donations
The empty hall was quickly transformed into a warehouse. Even furniture was donated. Within three weeks hundreds of square meters were occupied. Clothing, washing bags, shoes, children's toys, home furnishings, furniture and household appliances such as televisions and washing machines – everything that the flood took away from the people.
"People i had never seen before stood next to me as helpers after calling ahead", does not remember. Many of the initially nameless helpers came not only from sonnefeld and the surrounding area, but also from the neighboring counties of lichtenfels and kronach.
"The farthest distance i drove was a woman who lives 1.5 hours away", says keilich. She established contacts with relief organizations in the flooded areas to make sure that the donations would arrive.
The first transport started on 24. June with the destination gera. Two 7.5-ton trucks and a van full of relief supplies drove to caritas, which was scrambling through lists of donations needed for distribution.
It was there that keilich and her helpers first saw the direct effects of the flood – with all its suffering and the people's personal concerns. Grateful victims were the first reward for the efforts of the preparations.
The positive response and direct contact with those affected was an incentive to initiate another transport to the saxon elbe valley near pirna and heidenau. Two 40-ton trucks and a 7.5-ton truck from the sonnefeld fire department were dispatched to a collection point near the elbflorenz at the end of june.
On the facebook-page you can find a lot of thankful comments from the receivers. "I am equally grateful to all donors and helpers for their unselfish willingness to help.", emphasizes keilich.
The helpers continue
The water has receded in many places, but for keilich and her helpers it goes on: "i think it's a real pity that the media don't report on the flood and the people affected, even though some areas are still under water.
People are forgotten. That is also the reason why I continue." Keilich continues to show her modesty: "although we had a total of five trucks and a sprinter full, our donation was only a very small contribution to what is actually required."