Surviving a Berlin winter is one thing, going through it without warm essentials is another. Like most cities that experience sub-zero temperatures, its homeless face an added struggle. “Daily deed a day” website Doonited, is looking to ease the bitter burden “one jacket at a time” with this week’s re-launch of their city-wide fundraising campaign One warm winter.
“We wanted to make it fun… and viral”
“It was a thought that came up around Christmas 2010. We wanted to make a difference by getting homeless people nice, warm jackets. We wanted to make it fun, and make it go viral,” says Doonited’s founder Oliver Stark. Stark teamed up with young creative agency DOJO, and homeless organisation “mob” which publishes Berlin magazine Strassenfeger (Street Sweeper) – to make it happen.
Celebrities are also pitching in. Featured on the ads and posters around town, is German entertainment presenter Palina Rojinski and actor/singer Wilson Gonzalez Ochsenknech.
Brand new Jacket = 30 euros
Locals and businesses are encouraged to donate a euro (or appreciatively more) to put toward the purchase of high-quality winter jackets bought directly from a wholesaler. The money goes toward a 30 euro purchase, including all taxes and fees. The good Samaritans are encouraged to upload their picture onto Doonited where there’s an open forum to discuss their good deed.
By the end of March 2011, the team had presented 260 jackets to Berlin’s itinerants after raising 7800 euros, “but we think we can do better than that this year,” says Stark.
“Life is no train station”
Berlin’s homeless are often found using the steps of train stations as makeshift beds and waving money-collecting plastic cups at passers-by. It’s a common sight, and a fitting description for the campaign slogan “Das leben ist kein U-Bahnhof” meaning ‘life is no train station’. With around 5000 homeless people in Berlin, there are a lot of backs to warm. The distribution is organised by “mob” that directly passes the jackets on through its homeless shelter.
One warm winter every winter?
The campaign is looking to re-launch each winter in Berlin, and potentially across Germany. “One warm winter” recently caught the eye of some of the country’s cities looking to localise the campaign – next time around. Staying warm in the icy cold satisfies a basic need, but Stark says the gesture is also about putting a smile on the face of disadvantaged and socially marginalised people. “Last campaign, a lot of homeless that received the jackets were so shy, appreciative and nice, they were really overwhelmed.” Heart-warming stuff.