Children playing, eyes radiant, books and toys on the shelves, animals in the garden, a large, dedicated play area – it seems like a paradise for the next generation. In Thomas Wiser Haus, though, it is not parents and siblings with whom the children grow up: The majority of them are supported by education professionals in the home round the clock 365 days in the year and furthermore, day groups are held on 220 of those days.
Year after year hundreds of Christmas presents go from Krones staff to disadvantaged children in the region of the headquarters in Neutraubling. One of the biggest organisations to receive these presents is the charity Thomas Wiser Haus.
Thomas Wiser Haus offers what is known as educational support if the parents are not or no longer able to take on this task themselves or are overstretched, or if there is a risk to the child’s age-appropriate development. “A child can also stay here voluntarily, but often that isn’t the case. It’s the classic scenario: Neighbours, teachers or other people notice something’s not quite right, and then the youth welfare office gets involved,” explains Lorenz Dineiger, Regional Director of Thomas Wiser Haus for Regenstauf/Regensburg.
In all, 250 children and young people currently have a substitute family in the home. “The everyday life is geared very closely to family structures, it’s just that we have more (expert) people here and things are probably organised a little more systematically,” says Dineiger. There are fixed rules, but they try to offer as much normality as possible. “Our occupants can, of course, also receive visits from friends, join sports clubs and go wherever they like in the local area. We attach a lot of importance to integrating the kids here into the social sphere.”
No one should have to go without at Christmas
The financial resources for the children are very limited, however, with only 1,080 euros per person available for non-food products and activities in the year. “That has to cover school materials, clothing, hairdressing, sports club fees, music tuition, excursions and everything else that isn’t food. It soon mounts up, and things get even tighter towards the end of the year,” Dineiger says. That means having to learn to go without early on.
The children and young people look forward to Christmas each year all the more. The wish lists of the children start arriving at Krones in Neutraubling as early as October and November – and then it’s a matter of shopping, wrapping and preparing. High up on the wish list these days: Pokémon, Beyblades and Tonie figures for the younger ones. Vouchers are popular, too, though.
The older ones actually prefer vouchers, as it means they can save up to get something bigger later. Another thing that's always nice is when the kids plan an outing together, so for example they might wish for a trip to the swimming pool or adventure park. Lorenz DineigerRegional Director of Thomas Wiser Haus Regenstauf/Regensburg
Finally, the presents are shipped out at Christmas and taken to their destination. Donations go not only to Thomas Wiser Haus, but also the many other children in care and foster families across the region who are part of the campaign.
A happy time for everyone
Festivities in Thomas Wiser Haus then begin with a party on Christmas Eve. Lots of craft activities in the weeks leading up to Christmas ensure the place is already decorated appropriately, while 24 December is spent cooking and spending time together – all ending with the great ceremony of handing out presents. “Here too, we try to make sure the holidays reflect family life as much as possible, without actually competing with it,” Dineiger adds. And the Krones family is also delighted to have the opportunity each year to contribute to the success of this and many other Christmas festivities.