Group picture of the participants. Recipients hold checks in the air.

MDC staff donate five-figure sum

Employees at the MDC donated a total of €10,325 to the Christmas campaign “Lasst uns helfen.” The money raised will go to four different charities. Two other donation campaigns have benefited a local refugee center and the Elisabethstift children’s home.

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a severe impact on many individuals – and on charities, too. But most people who work for the MDC are not suffering financially as a result of the current situation, as Rainer Leben from the MDC’s Purchasing Department points out. Back in the spring, he and several of his colleagues started thinking about how they might help people adversely affected by the pandemic. Leben explains the idea behind the campaign: “My colleagues and I are still getting 100 percent of our salary, but we are spending less, meaning we have more money left over. Other people in different circumstances are earning nothing at all. So perhaps we can donate our spare money to help them?”

Rainer Leben and Dana Lafuente

He got the MDC’s Society of Friends on board to help launch the appeal, collect donations, and ensure the money goes where it is needed. The plans became more concrete in the autumn, when Victoria Malchin, responsible for site management at MDC Mitte/BIMSB, approached Leben. She got on board with the idea of encouraging staff members to donate a part of their income to people adversely affected by the pandemic. With the support of Dana Lafuente of the Society of Friends, Leben and Malchin were able to go ahead with their initiative, which they called “Lasst uns helfen” (“Let’s help”). The first important milestone was the decision which organizations to donate to. Malchin, Leben und Lafuente chose the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’s stipend campaign, an assistance scheme for musicians, the children’s charity Kinderhilfe e.V., and Buch’s volunteer fire service. “It was important to us to nominate recipients who were directly affected or who we feel make an important contribution to society,” says Malchin.

The campaign launched two weeks before Christmas, and by mid-January had raised a total of €10,325 from 80 different donors. “We are delighted that we were able to collect so much money,” says Leben. In early February each of the four recipients will receive an equal share of that total.

Kids get computers for home schooling

Victoria Malchin, Dana Lafuente and Rainer Leben (back row, from left to right) with the donation recipients.

As every year during the Advent period, two other campaigns encouraged MDC staff members to dig into their pockets. Prof. Helmut Kettenmann’s lab organized a collection for the refugee center on Lindenberger Weg in the Buch district. Birgit Jarchow, the campaign’s coordinator, highlighted the importance of expressing solidarity with other people in the neighborhood. She and the other campaign helpers were able to deliver two large boxes of arts and crafts materials to the refugee center.

The Christmas wish campaign also took place again. Children and teenagers from the Elisabethstift children’s home created homemade Christmas cards on which they wrote their Christmas wish. They were also able to express shared wishes – for example, so that their section could get a new bed. “Because of the unusual situation this year, the children were particularly keen to have laptops, tablets and headsets – everything they need for home schooling and digital learning,” said Dr. Inan Edes of the Captain T Cell team. Edes has organized the Christmas wish campaign for several years now. Employees across the entire Buch campus are encouraged to get involved. This year, a total of 160 gifts were presented to the home.

Text: Wiebke Peters