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There’s a good side to the pandemic: In times of Corona the neighbourhood help grows

There’s a good side to the pandemic : In times of Corona the neighbourhood help grows

Also in the left bank of the Rhine, more and more groups, initiatives and individuals offer their support to older people. One woman from Bornheim is overwhelmed after she offered to help in the social networks.

"Social Distancing" is precisely the predominant recommendation when dealing with others - because of the coronavirus, people should, simply put, keep their distance from each other. Experts advise people to stay at home in order to slow down or even prevent the spread of Covid-19. This is particularly true for so-called risk groups such as senior citizens or people with previous diseases for whom infection could be life-threatening. But sooner or later, even these people will have to leave their homes, for example to go shopping. To help them, several groups have come together in the left bank of the Rhine in recent days. Individual volunteers also offer their help in the social media.

Helpers from the neighbourhood are waiting for calls

The Bornheim native Nadine A. makes herself available under #OneHamsterforAll (well, actually, it’s a German hashtag: #EinHamsterfürAlle). "We do small shopping errands, go to the post office or the pharmacy, take the dog for a walk, etc. for those in our midst who are older than 60 years or ill at home," her Facebook post says. "I came up with the idea because I work in Merten in the close-up shop and have seen how empty the shelves are, how ruthless and nasty the people were at times. That's when I felt a great need for justice and positive social interaction," explains the 30-year-old, who moved from Dresden to Merten a year ago.

So far, she has not received any calls from people seeking help, but about ten from people in Bornheim who want to offer their help. "This inspires me and gives me hope that the majority of the neighbours have as big a heart as I do and live according to the motto: Together is better than alone. As soon as requests come in, she wants to coordinate with the other helpers to cover as many areas as possible. Contact ☏ 0151-12666843.

One of the volunteers is the 28-year-old Marcel Brinckmann. In a Facebook post he offers his help to people from risk groups. "I came up with the idea because the older generation urgently needs help now in times of Corona. The older generation was also there for me very often, especially the parents of my future in-laws," the security service trainee explains his motivation. "One must not forget what the older generation has achieved after the Second World War. And I personally can imagine how difficult it is for the sick people at the moment to live in danger. So far, no one has responded to his offer, but he is optimistic. Brinckmann can be contacted via his e-mail address brinckmann.marcel1991@mail.de.

In Brenig, a district of Bornheim, the organisational structures for rapid assistance among neighbours are already well established. Sabine Görres, the contact person for the "Lebensnah - aktiv vor Ort" (close to life - active on site) community social service in the parish house, is where the threads of Brenig's neighborhood assistance come together in times of the corona crisis. With flyers, Lebensnah and the St. Evergislus support association draw attention to the shopping opportunities for the elderly of the village.

"Even during the refugee crisis there was a great willingness to help in Brenig, and we are now getting a lot of positive feedback", reported Görres. She hopes that the first purchases can be made by the end of the week. The office can be reached by telephone at ☏ 0157-54686811 and ☏ 02222-9299205 and by e-mail at lebensnah@sanktevergislus.de.

In Kardorf the bachelor association and the local committee called a neighbourhood assistance program into being: ☏ 0157-34873863. In Widdig several persons make themselves available; Konrad Velten can make the contact. The local chairman can be reached under ☏ 02236-2216. A 13-year-old boy's post on Facebook, offering errands to those in danger in Sechtem, was well received. Under the motto "Bornheim sticks together - we help" Junge Union and CDU join forces. "This project is intended to create a forum beyond our party borders in which citizens can help each other voluntarily in the current difficult time of the corona virus," the party said. Helpers and those seeking help can contact ☏ 0160-95528807.

In Alfter a private initiative of young people, "Nächstenhilfe Alfter", has come together, which can be reached under ☏ 01573-4874923 or hilfe-alfter@gmx.de. "Anyone who has a need such as food shopping can contact this number and support will then be organised. Payment for the goods can then be made at the front door," says Christian Lanzrath from the initiative. More information at wasserturmfreunde-gielsdorf.com.

In the Rheinbach mountain town of Groß Schlebach, Jörg Meyer is thinking about how he can help the elderly in the surrounding villages. "One thing is clear: We will learn a new lesson in Germany with this crisis", he thinks. Via Facebook, he offered himself as a shopping aid for all senior citizens of Merzbach and Neukirchen over the age of 65. Senior citizens in particular are more at risk at Corona," says the graduate engineer. He therefore sees the support of the elderly as an opportunity "to avoid their risk of infection by staying in shops, buses, etc.". His appeal has met with some response. "It is clear that the whole thing is starting now." He hopes that others will follow his example of paying attention to their neighbours in this way.

(Original text: Katharina Weber and Mario Quadt; Translation: Mareike Graepel)