New storage facility helps The Salvation Army “become family” with refugees in Leipzig, Germany.
The Salvation Army in Leipzig, Germany, set up a small “light-build” warehouse as a base for its work with refugees. The European Refugee Response Taskforce provided help, as did territorial and divisional headquarters and Torsten Huebner, a manager with UPS, whose services were offered without charge. The Salvation Army World Services Office funded the construction.
The new facility, built on land donated by the town of Leipzig, opened on Nov. 24. The lack of storage capacity at a pre-existing thrift store meant that only small items such as clothes, shoes, toys and household items could be offered to refugees settling in flats in the town. The new warehouse allows The Salvation Army to collect and supply larger items such as furniture to the 60 clients who have registered so far.
“Most of the refugees come into completely empty flats after living some time in different styles of camps in Germany,” said Major Mark Backhaus, Salvation Army corps officer in Leipzig. “We offer everything for token prices to finance electricity, a small truck and heating.”
Significant extra funding is still needed to enable the project to reach its potential. Backhaus hopes to be able to pay for a warehouse manager since currently he is handling that responsibility as well as his usual ministry.
Among the volunteers helping to run the project are refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Serbia and other countries. They support with translation, manual handling and cleaning. Backhaus expressed gratitude for their help, and to the government departments that “helped us with approximately 12,734 permissions and encouraged us not to give up hope.”
Backhaus gives God the ultimate credit.
“God was and is using some visionary ground staff to help people in need–what a privilege to see a living God in action,” he said. “All glory to Jesus! You should see the joy in the refugees’ eyes, hear their happiness and taste their thankfulness. We are blessed with this extraordinary possibility to serve and to become family with a lot of people from other cultures.”
Report by IHQ Communications