All for a good cause Half a million crown caps collected for children with cancer

Königswinter · Vera Vogt from Königswinter-Niederbuchholz collects the tinplate caps for the Förderkreis Krebskranker Kinder and her network is growing all the time. How she came up with the idea - and what can happen when collecting diligently.

 Vera and Christoph Vogt from Königswinter-Niederbuchholz fill their crown caps into a container at a collection point in Hennef.

Vera and Christoph Vogt from Königswinter-Niederbuchholz fill their crown caps into a container at a collection point in Hennef.

Foto: Hansjürgen Melzer

Vera Vogt from Königswinter-Niederbuchholz has been collecting crown corks for four and a half years. On the Friday after Ash Wednesday, it was time again. Together with her husband Christoph, she delivered almost 180 kilograms of the tinplate caps, which mostly come from beer bottles, to the KD beverage store on Bonner Straße in Hennef. The money from the recycling of the tinplate will go to the Förderkreis für krebskranke Kinder und Jugendliche in Bonn.

Dirk Ditscheid from the drinks store is happy to help with the campaign. For the past three years, he has travelled once every two months on average to the Ehlert locksmith's shop in Bad Breisig (see box) to deliver around a tonne of crown corks. "From there, the crown corks are taken onwards for recycling," he reports. At the last crown cork festival, which takes place every year in Bad Breisig, the support group was able to receive a cheque for 6,000 euros.

Gripped by collecting fever

Even on the short walk from the collection point in Hennef to a café, Vera Vogt discovers a crown cap on the pavement. She has caught the collecting bug. It all started four and a half years ago when Vogt read an article on the Internet about the crown cap collection campaign. She was immediately hooked and placed a small advert saying that she was collecting crown corks and was also willing to collect them.

People kept contacting her as a result. During the coronavirus pandemic, she once even travelled as far as Windeck to collect almost a hundred kilos of crown corks. Another time, she travelled to Cologne. Vogt now also has a few regular contacts, such as a neighbourhood circle in Aegidienberg, where she can collect a box once a year. Her passion for collecting has also long since infected her colleagues at her employer, Deutsche Telekom. There is a collection box in the canteen. She is also a member of various social network groups, where people are also busy collecting. "The network has grown bigger and bigger," says Vogt.

And then, of course, there is the Thomasberg drum corps, where she has played the flute for almost 38 years. In a side room of the rehearsal room in Thomasberg, there is a bucket in which crown caps are collected. One or two bottles of beer are said to have been opened just to support the bottle cap campaign.

Curious experiences during the collection campaigns

The Vogts often find a box of bottle caps outside their garage in Niederbuchholz. The most curious experience so far was when the postman brought a large envelope containing just a single bottle cap. The postage costs were many times higher than the value of the contents. Another time, two bottle openers were also found in a box. Another donor, who left a bag of wine bottle corks outside the front door, had obviously misunderstood the campaign.

Vera Vogt and her husband are aware that the proceeds from the crown corks are manageable at the current scrap price of 120 euros per tonne or 12 cents per kilo of tinplate. A considerable amount is only raised by the masses. All in all, the woman from Niederbuchholz has delivered exactly 1047 kilograms and 500 grams of crown caps to collection points to date. As one cap weighs just 2.2 grams, this amount equates to almost 500,000 crown caps.

"In addition to the good cause, there is also the sustainability effect," says Vera Vogt, citing a second motive for her collecting. Although she has also collected bottle caps in the Rheinaue around the park benches, she collects the most through her ever-growing network. She now only needs half the time to collect the same amount as in her first year.

It wasn't Vera Vogt who had the idea of publicising her hobby for a good cause, but her husband Christoph. "We hope to raise a bit of awareness for a good cause. You can help young people who are going through a bad time and do something good for the environment at the same time," he says.

The Förderkreis für krebskranke Kinder und Jugendliche Bonn e.V. has been collecting money for the young patients in the oncological ward of the University Children's Hospital in Bonn for over 35 years. This money is used, for example, to finance overnight accommodation for their parents close to the clinic, play and craft activities, workshops or holiday time for the patients and their siblings, as well as psycho-oncological and psychosocial counselling and palliative care.

(Original text: Hansjürgen Melzer; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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