Dieter Puhl, head of the Bahnhofsmission at Berlin’s Zoo station called for people to help out with donations to help homeless people during the current hot weather, pointing out that living rough is not only difficult in the winter.
He made an appeal for summer clothing, sandals and drinks, prompting a generous response from people in the city, he said. “Berliners are simply great,” he said, referring to 300 donations which were made in the first 24 hours of the appeal.
Around 10,000 people live on the capital’s streets, many of whom are not kitted out for health living in the summer. Many are still walking around with winter boots, heavy socks, jumpers and jeans – in temperatures which have been well over 30 degrees Celsius for weeks.
“No-one thinks of the fact that homeless people need summer clothing too,” said Puhl.
He said some had already collapsed in the heat, while others have suffered serious sunburn. “We urgently need sun screen,” he said.
Drinks are also needed, he added. There are only few opportunities to drink water for free in the city, with drinking fountains rare and most public toilets charging for use.
The most useful drinks are mineral water or the Turkish yoghurt drink Ayran, he said, as they also contain important minerals necessary for health. “Many of the people who come here are not in the best of health to begin with,” he said.
The mission at the station is open three times a day, offering meals to the homeless, as well as passing on other donations such as a crate of plastic sandals, which he said had recently been donated by a hospital.
One woman showed up this week with her car packed with apple juice, milk, sugar and sandals – she said she had heard the appeal for help for the homeless in the heat and decided to do what she could.