The Johanniter Christmas truck again brings gifts to people in need in Southeast Europe / The Zott truck departs from Mertingen
Once again, this year, the Zott dairy from Mertingen has sent a Johanniter Christmas truck to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Together with around 40 other trucks, the Johanniter relief operation is taking parcels to those in need in Southeast Europe. The Christmas packages contain basic foodstuffs, sweets, toiletries and small gifts for starving children living in poverty, families, the elderly and people with disabilities.
One of the drivers is Tom Frede, a logistics employee at the Zott dairy. For many years, he has been a volunteer Johanniter Christmas trucker. Zott gives him time off for the duration of the trip, makes the truck available and pays the incurred fuel bills. As part of a convoy, Tom Frede drives the truck to the two cities of Banja Luka and Tuzla in Bosnia – which is a drive of about 1,000 kilometres from Mertingen – until he arrives at his destinations with the more than 1,200 Christmas parcels on board. Markus Kristen, also a Zott employee and incidentally also involved in the Johanniter Donauwörth local association, has been part of the convoy with the Christmas trucks for more than 22 years. As an experienced convoy manager, Marks Kristen will lead the convoy trip to Banja Luka and Tuzla this year. Together with the other Johanniter Christmas truckers, both men will leave Landshut on Boxing Day to embark on their trip which will last several days. Thus, they spend the days between Christmas and New Year on the road, instead of with their families. "To be welcomed in Bosnia by children with shining eyes still always moves me, even after so many years," explains the experienced Christmas trucker, Tom Frede.
On Friday, 18th December, the first partial loading of the Zott truck took place on the car park in front of the Mertingen dairy area as part of a Christmas event. The children from the nursery and the pupils from Mertingen primary school, as well as numerous employees from the Zott dairy, packed up countless parcels for the Christmas truck and also helped with the loading. Many also took the opportunity to make another donation, thus supporting the work of the Johanniter. Markus Kristen is delighted with the great willingness of his colleagues and the Mertingen school classes and nursery groups and said; "against the backdrop of the current refugee situation, it is great, and also a lovely sign, that so many people have again responded to our appeal this year. For us it is a relatively small, albeit not insignificant effort, but for those families in need in Southeast Europe, such a parcel with basic foodstuffs and hygiene items means a great deal – in fact, some of these families even depend on this aid from Germany."
Just before their journey to Bosnia, Tom Frede (left) and Markus Kristen load the Johanniter Christmas truck on the Zott works premises in Mertingen.