GEA recently supported the Bethel foundation, the largest helping organization of its kind in Germany, with a donation of 5,000 mouth and nose protective masks.

In late April, Bethel board member, Ursula Veh-Weingarten approached Dirk Schlingmeyer from GEA’s crisis management team with the urgent request; like many others, the foundation was finding it difficult to source face masks commercially, which were urgently needed by its clients following the outbreak of COVID-19. “I approached the GEA management board with the request,” says Schlingmeyer, “which they immediately approved.” The masks were promptly distributed to clients served by the various institutions operating under Bethel’s auspices.

The Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel and its roughly 20,000-strong workforce provide support and assistance to people in the areas of social welfare, healthcare and education, covering more than 280 sites. The foundation, which was established more than 150 years ago in Bielefeld, has evolved to become one of the major European diaconal institutions under the direction of Friedrich von Bodelschwingh and his successors. “It was perfect timing,” reports Veh-Weingarten. “The masks were delivered at just the right moment, as face masks became mandatory only a few days later for people in public places. If everybody thinks like this and makes a contribution, then these kinds of initiatives can benefit a lot of people,” says Veh-Weingarten.

This donation marks one of several local activities undertaken by GEA on a global scale during the coronavirus pandemic. Heavily affected regions like Spain and northern Italy have also benefited from donations which included protective face masks, disinfectants and other key supplies to support the healthcare systems in those regions.

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