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Army expands refugee work in Leipzig

16 December 2015

Army expands refugee work in Leipzig

Caption: Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territorial Commander Colonel Patrick Naud opens the new Salvation Army warehouse in Leipzig, Germany.

A newly constructed warehouse has given The Salvation Army in Leipzig, Germany, the opportunity to provide extra assistance to refugees settling in the city.

More than 800,000 refugees, mainly from war-torn Middle East countries, have found asylum in Germany this year, with Leipzig accepting more than 10 percent of them.

The lack of storage capacity at a pre-existing Salvation Army thrift store meant that only small items such as clothes, shoes, toys and household items could be offered to refugees settling in apartments. The new warehouse allows The Salvation Army to collect and supply larger items such as furniture.

The new facility, which has been built on land donated by the city of Leipzig, is also acting as The Salvation Army's base for its work with refugees.

The Leipzig Corps Officer, Major Mark Backhaus, who is managing the warehouse, says: “Most of the refugees come into completely empty flats after living some time in different styles of camps in Germany. We offer everything for token prices to finance electricity, a small truck and heating.”

Major Backhaus said many refugees are among the volunteers helping to run the project, particularly those from Afghanistan, Syria and Serbia. They support with translation, manual handling and cleaning. Major Backhaus is grateful for their help, and also to the government departments which “helped us with approximately 12,734 permissions and encouraged us not to give up hope.”

He added: “God was and is using some visionary ground staff to help people in need – what a privilege to see a living God in action. All glory to Jesus! You should see the joy in the refugees' eyes, hear their happiness and taste their thankfulness. We are blessed with this extraordinary possibility to serve and to become family with a lot of people from other cultures.”

Report courtesy of The Salvation Army International Headquarters

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