Suitcases and cherry pitters

How Lufthansa Cargo employees support Cargo Human Care.

Once upon a time there was a suitcase. Into it Fokko Doyen packed jumpers, trousers and shoes belonging to his three children. On board an MD-11F he took the clothing to Africa and distributed it within a children’s village. This was 16 years ago. What started with a single suitcase has now become a humanitarian and medical aid project: Cargo Human Care. Today, many Lufthansa Cargo members and even their relatives support the organization with their heart and soul. Two of them tell their stories.

One man. One passion. One idea. And ultimately impressive results: well over 100 helpers, 450 runners, around 1,000 litres of water and more than 8,000 euros. In August, the Office City Run made its debut with all net proceeds going to Cargo Human Care. The man behind the event works for Sales: Christopher Biaesch. In 2001 he ran his first marathon. Since 2003 he has been organising the people’s run in Oberursel. “Time for something new”, he thought to himself. He joined forces with his colleague Uwe Schnier,  who has been commited to Cargo Human Care for many years. “I visited the Mothers’ Mercy Home near Nairobi. I was impressed by what they had achieved,” he recalls. The idea to start a charity run was born. “Then came the question of whether I would be able to get a helper team together”, says Biaesch. “But I thought it must be possible with Cargo!” He was right. Word of the project soon spread. Colleagues promised to help, customers joined in, and friends and family followed suit. Even people who before had nothing to do with Lufthansa Cargo wanted to help. “The idea met with a positive response. Everybody used their contacts. In the end we had over 100 volunteers”, he reports proudly.

Only the city of Frankfurt put an obstacle in his way. The Public Order and Parks Department was not too keen on a run through Niederrad Office City. “But giving up was out of the question”, says Christopher Biaesch, who had to make do with a compromise. With an alternative route and a limited number of participants he gained the city’s consent. And in late August hundreds
of runners started the race with a joint goal: “Step by step. Giving children a future.”

“Dear Jam Fans, at the end of October, I donated over 100 euros of jam money to CHC’s account again. I wanted them to buy lots of fresh fruit for the children. As there is still a lot to do in Africa, I once again made some jars of orange-ginger marmalade, blackberry and yellow plum jam. I will be delivering the jam to your front doorstep. Best regards, Finn.”

Finn is eleven and the son of Lufthansa Cargo employee member Jutta Weimer. “A crazy but loveable boy”, she describes him with a proud smile. Crazy? That’s what many a school mate thinks. “Why don’t you keep the money for yourself?” Finn often hears this question. And then he simply answers back: “Why should I do that if others are so much worse off?” Every summer he roams through the orchards in the Rheingau region collecting fruit, out of which he then makes jam with his mother’s help and sells the jars at a roadside stall – or delivers them to his customers’ front doorstep. “I want the kids in Nairobi to have a happy life”, says Finn. And to achieve this goal he not only makes jam. He also bakes cakes and sells them to his neighbours.

And every time he gets rid of clutter, he sells it at a flea market, donating all the money he earns to CHC. He does the same with half of his pocket money. Every single month. For more than five years he has been a regular member of the charity organization. His membership certificate has pride of place in his room – next to his football trophies.

A short while ago it was Finn’s birthday. What he wanted was a cherry pitter – so he can make even more jam.