Changing the world one random act of kindness at a time.

FR  DE

In 2021, storm system “Bernd” triggered severe floods and landslides in parts of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. To help those affected by the catastrophe, Regional Representative Manager Krissi Neubauer teamed up with other German staff members. As a team, they proved that we are stronger when we work together.

When Rain Turns into a Flood

In July 2021, low-pressure weather system “Bernd” brought heavy rainfall to western Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. In 24 hours, it rained as much as it usually does in a month. The rain triggered flash floods and massive landslides, destroying buildings, roads, and bridges. More than 230 people lost their lives.
At the time, Random Acts Regional Representatives Manager Krissi Neubauer had just started as a Regional Representative for Germany. When she heard of the catastrophe, she knew she had to help. Krissi realized that she needed help to help as many people as possible. The best place to start? Random Acts! Krissi reached out to fellow German Random Acts staff members Jana Zacharias, Bea Arbeiter, Rea Niessen, Ann-Kathrin Bomkamp, and Mariella David. The six teamed up for a joint Act of Kindness. After some time, the team grew to seven as Regional Representative for Belgium, Melissa Deconynck, joined because she wished to support those affected in Belgium. Other Random Acts members heard of the team’s plans and supported them from a distance with their Random Acts funding. Together, they got to work.

3 women stand next to each other in front of a white transporter. All wear Random Acts clothing and warm coats.

From left: Krissi, Rea and Jana in Ahrweiler

What Do We Need?

Because they could not help everyone, Krissi and her team decided to focus on the Ahr Valley, an area in Germany that was hit particularly hard by the floods. Through online groups, the team contacted victims of the catastrophe to ask what they needed most. Most people had a similar answer: items that kept warm and allowed people to cook. Krissi and her team then decided to order heating fans, heating blankets, hotplates, electric kettles and a tablet. The tablet had been a wish of a mother whose daughter needed the tablet for homeschooling.
However, ordering the needed items turned out to be a bit more of a hassle than expected. The reason – at the time, the two big stores for electronic devices in Germany had been hacked. As a result, the team was unable to order something from a local market. Undeterred, the team called several smaller markets. In the end, Random Acts funding allowed Krissi and her team to purchase 10 heating fans, 10 heating blankets, 10 hotplates, 10 electric kettles, 10 microwaves, and a tablet.

Donations and Stories

On the day of the act, Krissi and Jana drove to Haribo Grafschaft, where they met Rea. The three set up a table in an area where other helpers stayed as well. One of the first people to arrive at the table was the mother, who had wished for a tablet for her daughter. She also took one of the heating blankets and whispered to her daughter: “Now you finally have a warm place to sleep.”
Many flood victims found their way to the table. Everybody was incredibly grateful, and some people had tears in their eyes when they told their stories and accepted the donations.

Two women stand arm in arm to the left of a table with many donated items in cardboard boxes. A Random Acts banner is displayed in front of the table.

From left: Krissi, Jana with some of the donations

“All of the stories we heard on that day will be in our hearts forever,” said Rea Niessen.

Krissi, Jana, and Rea also met many other helpers. Everything was organized privately and without the help of the German government. Sadly, once the media had stopped reporting, the number of donations dwindled. This only highlighted that it had been the right decision to come to the Ahr Valley.
Within a few hours, all donations found their new owners.

“We were surprised at how fast they went. We could have driven there with a whole truck full of donations, and there would still be a need for more,” said Krissi surprised.

Meanwhile, Melissa delivered her donations to those in need in Belgium, where everyone was just as grateful.

 

What does Krissi and her team’s act of kindness show us? When we work together, we can accomplish amazing things! If you have an idea of how to help someone in need, head over to our Acts of Kindness page. Do you have questions? No problem! Reach out to your Regional Representative for guidance.