Non-monetary aid from Winterhilfe

Since its founding in 1936, the aid agency, which is active exclusively in Switzerland, has been providing non-monetary aid for those in need. One such example is the provision of clothing packages. This second cornerstone, alongside financial support, is still incredibly popular today. 

TEXAID and Winterhilfe
TEXAID was founded in 1978 as a charity-based private partnership by Winterhilfe, five other Swiss aid organisations and a private partner. The goal of this partnership was to transform traditional and hitherto independently operated clothing collections into a professional, environmentally friendly and economically viable value chain. The majority of the revenue generated by TEXAID via the sale of collected textiles is donated to its six participating aid agencies and other charitable organisations. This revenue allows Winterhilfe to finance a portion of its own projects, for example the provision of non-monetary aid to people affected by poverty in Switzerland.

Project background
Poverty is not always obvious – especially not in Switzerland. For the 600,000 people* affected by income poverty in this country, certain things which should be a given are often an unachievable luxury. Poverty in Switzerland is inconspicuous or hidden. Nobody notices when a retired couple does without fresh fruit and vegetables or when a single mother has to sleep on the floor. A young person starting a new job who does not have a change of clothes, despite having found work, also goes unnoticed. It especially affects children starting at a new school who put on a brave face and go without a new school bag because they know that there is no money for one. Winterhilfe looks into the matter and provides targeted, practical help by means of non-monetary aid:

Clothing packages
Winterhilfe’s clothing aid allows people with extremely restricted financial means to acquire clothes and shoes. The clothing packages are composed of second-hand items and new goods and depending on the availability of our logistics partners, they are sent directly to the beneficiaries at their home. An excerpt from a thank you note: “Thank you so much for the clothing package! The clothes fit and I really like them too. I especially like the long trousers. Thank you so much for everything. Now I’ll look spick and span everywhere I go!”

Foodstuffs
A balanced and healthy diet is the foundation for well-being and effectiveness. Winterhilfe supports people affected by poverty in Switzerland with vouchers to buy food and also provides foodstuffs itself (Winterhilfe Basel-Stadt and Winterhilfe Oberwallis). Winterhilfe is also in partnership with “Tischlein deck dich” (The Wishing-Table), which combats the destruction of perfectly good foodstuffs.

Furniture
Winterhilfe’s furniture aid allows people with extremely restricted financial means to acquire a bed. As such, Winterhilfe provides real help and welcome relief for the household budget. Winterhilfe helps with beds for adults, as well as bunk beds and beds for infants. Everything they need is delivered, from the bed frame to the mattress and bedding. The simple yet robust and high-quality bed frames are made in Switzerland, as are the mattresses. The cotton bedding is produced in Europe. Winterhilfe’s delivery personnel bring the beds and bedding all the way to the front door. An excerpt from a thank you note: “I’ve only been sleeping in my new bed for a few weeks but it’s a wonderful feeling. I hadn't had a bed for 8 years beforehand.”

School supplies
The first day of nursery or school is a big occasion in a child’s life. A nice satchel or a cool school bag are part of getting off to a good start. Above all, it must fulfil certain weight and safety criteria and it helps forge the identity of children about to start with school. For parents affected by poverty, buying a school bag can be a prohibitive purchase. Winterhilfe provides a full range of school equipment to children at nursery, primary or secondary school.

You can find more information about Winterhilfe here.

*Source: FSO, as of 2016