German Christmas truck project brings 1,000 gifts and food to needy families in Transylvania

haferland, michael schmidt Stiftung, Facebook

Some 1,000 families in Transylvania have received presents and food parcels, thanks to a German humanitarian initiative and a Romanian-based foundation that aims to help less well-off  communities in the Haferland region of Transylvania,

Volunteers from the Die Johanniter Organization, joined for a third year running by the Michael Schmidt Foundation, handed out the gifts and food, according to reports.

Some of the presents were handed to other foundations in the area that support disadvantaged children such as the Rafael Foundation in Codlea, the Good Samaritan Association and the Rupea Children’s home.

„We are involved in the local communities in Haferland and we are happy to be able to facilitate and involve other organizations,“ said Michael Schmidt, the foundation chairman told RomaniaPozitiva news site.

“This is why we are thrilled with the Christmas truck which brings joy and hope in the holiday season to families in Romanian villages,” he added.

The Johanniter Christmas truck project, is a German humanitarian initiative, now in its 26th year. Companies, schools, donors, associations, and volunteers from Germany take part. Transporting food and gifts to Eastern Europe.

Every year it sends about 30 trucks to Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Albania, and Ukraine.

This year, the trucks left the German town of Landshut, in Bavaria, southeast Germany, on December 26, carrying 62,300 parcels for the five countries.

The Haferland region, which means the Oat Country in German, got the name as the land was mostly suitable for cultivating oats. It is situated in Transylvania between the medieval town of Sighisoara and the town of Rupea, in Brasov county.

It is home to Romania’s celebrated Saxon villages which have become a major tourist attraction in recent years. Under communism and immediately afterwards, more than 200,000 Saxons  emigrated to Germany and others were forcibly relocated to towns under Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu’s plans to urbanize the population.

The Michael Schmidt Foundation was created in 2010 with the aim of conserving traditional Saxon culture, developing educational projects and promoting the German language in Romania.

The foundation also set up the Haferland festival in 2012. Schmidt is the largest regional BMW dealer and only Rolls Royce dealer in the region who comes from Crit (German name: Kreuzdorf),  a village of 676 people.

The festival which is held every July aims to promote the cultural heritage and revitalize local traditions in the villages in the rolling hills of Transylvania.

The Transylvanian Saxons (Siebenbürger Sachsen in German) first arrived here in the 12th century from areas that today are part of  Luxembourg, France and Belgium.

The foundation also helps schools with German teaching materials, and is restoring the organ in the church in Crit and has restored the parochial house in the village which now operates as the Casa Kraus hotel.

After-school project in Crit, organized by the Michael Schmidt Stiftung


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