#united4kids
Two locations, one goal: Cycling against child poverty in Germany

Men and women in cycling gear sit around a table under an umbrella

The longest stage is done: The colleagues with a special mission take a break at the Osnabrück Arche

© Catherine Boldebuck

They want to set an example: for solidarity and against child poverty. Ten Cologne colleagues from RTL Germany and the Hamburg publishing house Gruner + Jahr are struggling for a good cause and collecting donations. They stop at the children’s charity “Arche” in Osnabrück

The table on the terrace is set with freshly baked crumble cake and sliced ​​melon. The napkins say: For my favorite guests. The six men and four women in tight black cycling shorts and green sports tops sink gratefully into the cushions of the garden chairs. They leaned their bikes against the hedge. They are 130 kilometers from Bremen Osnabruck hazards. It is the second and longest stage of an unusual bike tour: ten colleagues from RTL Germany and the publishing house Gruner + Jahr cycle together from Hamburg to Cologne in four days. There are 440 kilometers between the two locations, whose employees will work closely together in the future.

Now they are taking a break at the children’s charity “Arche” in Osnabrück. Because with their campaign, the cyclists not only want to bridge the distance between the two media houses, since January 1, 2022, the Hamburg publishing house Gruner + Jahr has belonged to RTL. They pedal also for a good cause: “We want to draw attention to the work of our two foundations and collect donations,” says Arne Barmscheidt from Cologne child poverty be used in Germany. There is a flag on a bicycle bag: “#United4Kids” is written on the disheveled pennant – the motto of their campaign.

#United4Kids

The stern foundation and the “RTL – We help children eV” foundation have been helping socially disadvantaged people for years, collecting donations and supporting projects so that children can grow up well.

This is one of those projects children’s charity “Ark”. The Osnabrück site was opened in 2020 during the first lockdown, and there are 28 of these facilities for children and young people nationwide. During their tour, the ten cyclists want to find out more about the work of the Arche employees on site.

Safe haven for children

“We take care of the children who are neglected in our society,” says Stephanie Koopmann, director of the Arche Osnabrück. Every fifth child in Germany is affected by poverty. There are probably even more now, because the social gap in Germany is widening due to the corona pandemic and the rising energy prices and high food costs are hitting poor families in particular.

For around 140 girls and boys between the ages of six and 15, the children’s charity in Osnabrück offers leisure and educational activities every day after school: from the reading and discovery club, to help with homework and excursions to hours with the therapy dog ​​Luzy. In the garden the children grow peas; Today they measured again how much the tender plants have grown in the past few days. They enter the results in a table that has been lovingly decorated.

Stephanie Koopmann shows the rooms during a tour of the former doctor’s office. Groceries are stacked on shelves in the “treasury”. The storage room was set up shortly after the outbreak of the Ukraine war to provide for refugees. But now more and more parents of “Arche” children are asking for help. “By the middle of the month, many people no longer know how to feed their children because prices are rising so much,” explains Maja Carstens, who works for Arche.

Stephanie Koopmann, head of the Osnabrücker Arche (r.), tells the cyclists that many children in Germany are affected by poverty and that a hot meal a day is not a matter of course for them

Stephanie Koopmann, head of the Osnabrücker Arche (r.), tells the cyclists that many children in Germany are affected by poverty and that a hot meal a day is not a matter of course for them

© Catherine Boldebuck

discover talents

In addition to a small library, there is another room with handicraft supplies, the walls are covered with colorful pictures. “We discover so many talents in the children here,” says Stephanie Koopmann. Everywhere in the ark there are handicrafts, so the children are encouraged to try and become strong. There is a large lettering on the window: “You are never too small, to be great”. And in the hallway there is a savings box for “Arche-Taler”, which every child receives if they help others.

“It’s nice to see how much thought the employees have here to support the children,” says Arne Barmscheidt from Cologne thoughtfully. And his colleague Susan Veldhuis adds: “Everyone who was here with us today will certainly pay much more attention to the topic in the future.”

contribution against child poverty

Anyone can support the #United4Kids campaign. The management of RTL Germany has already announced that it will donate one euro per driver for every kilometer driven and round up the sum to a total of 5,000 euros.

The stern foundation and the “RTL – We help children eV” foundation will continue to collect donations to alleviate child poverty in Germany and to support projects such as the Arche. If you too would like to make a contribution against child poverty, just donate here.