For the first time in history, German licensed trucks, sponsored and organized by GAiN Germany, carrying containers of humanitarian aid, were driven into Israel to bless the people and celebrate fifteen years of partnership with Helping Hand Coalition.
For over thirty years, GAiN (Global Aid Network) Germany has provided humanitarian aid to the world’s poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable countries. It has trucked over 170 relief containers to Ukraine during the recent war; shipped containers throughout Europe, Africa, North Korea, and countries hit with natural disasters (such as Haiti and Indonesia); and provided aid for refugees in the Middle East (such as Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan)!
Since 2007, GAiN Germany has partnered with Helping Hand Coalition, shipping dozens of containers with goods to be distributed to survivors of the Holocaust, lone soldiers, families in need, disabled, refugees, and many other less fortunate people. GAiN has also provided monthly financial support to hundreds of survivors of the Holocaust living in Israel through the GAiN Sponsorship Program. As of today, their support totals nine million shekels!
This year, GAiN’s team decided to drive containers into Israel rather than shipping the supplies as they have in the past, becoming the first international trucks to enter the Land! With three trucks loaded, the six drivers, including GAiN’s Chairman, Klaus Dewald, set off from Giessen (Gießen), Germany, on September 2nd. Their seven-day (4,500 kilometers) journey involved driving through Switzerland and Italy, getting ferries to Greece and Cyprus, before finally being shipped to Haifa Port from Limassol, Cyprus.
Once the drivers arrived in Israel, the containers were unloaded in Beit Shemesh at Joseph Project’s headquarters to be distributed throughout the country. Wrapped on a multitude of pallets, the goods, valuing more than a million shekels, included named-brand clothing and shoes, mobility aids (walkers and canes), hygienic products (soaps, paper towels, body products), mattresses, toys, household appliances, children’s goods, food, and more!
With their job complete, the drivers drove the trucks through Israel, traveling from the Golan Heights through the Galilee and Haifa, down to the coast of Caesarea and Netanya, over the Judaean Hills to Jerusalem, and then to the Dead Sea and Negev Desert. For the drivers, this trip was both a humanitarian project and a soul-searching journey. Each took time away from their work, family, and friends for this three-week roundtrip (over 9,000 kilometers), expecting nothing in return.
Together with Helping Hand Coalition, GAiN established GAiN Israel to support the active joint projects in the Land and help with the rapidly expanding European support for the people of Israel. In addition to bringing aid, the purpose of this initiative was to show a strong stand of support for Israel, especially amid the rise of antisemitism around the world.
Helping Hand Coalition extends its gratitude to GAiN Germany and the drivers — Peter and Elisabeth Kircher, Thomas and Heidi Schmidt, and Matthias Grapentin — for their dedication and hard work. Especially Klaus Dewald, whose enormous vision to support those in need and bring peace in times of hardship remains the foundation of GAiN Germany’s efforts; we are honored to have you as a board member and ally in this work! We also want to thank Joseph Project for its strong partnership in this venture and its assistance with storage and distribution.