Don’t look away.

Many voluntary helpers are currently forming up at the BMW Group. They are committing themselves to social, corporate and ecological projects, whilst demonstrating solidarity and assuming responsibility. They are supported by people within their own ranks – by the upgrAID employee movement.                              

It is the length of the queue that deeply moves Thomas Klose as he drives his truck up in front of the food bank of the Münchner Tafel every Friday to unload his goods – food and other items needed for everyday life, which he obtains from local supermarkets and shops. He collects them for people who queue up in the middle of Munich in order to be able to make ends meet. During the weeks to come, the queue of Tafel “guests” could become even longer, because the Corona virus severely affects those who are already struggling to get by in the first place.   

The Münchner Tafel is one of more than 30 upgrAID projects.

Thomas will continue to organise one of a total of 18 Friday delivery runs. Carmen Botros and Lucie Helpert will also lend a stronger hand in the weeks ahead. Unlike Thomas, the two ladies work at the goods issue counter and are in direct contact with people. The most stringent hygiene regulations are applied. “Benches ensure a distance of two metres between us and our guests. And we also wear disposable gloves and face masks, of course,” says Carmen. She has been there since 2015, Thomas and Lucie as well as more than 50 other BMW Group colleagues since the beginning of 2019. At an informational event held by the Münchner Tafel and the initiative upgrAID, the group spontaneously showed their willingness to support the Tafel. What is special about this is that the colleagues work independently of the company – privately and during their free time. “The fact that we are all from the BMW Group is more of a coincidence,” Lucie says.

 Woman with face mask

More than 1,000 employees have already joined the upgrAID movement.

The connecting link is upgrAID, a BMW Group employee movement founded in 2018, which more than 1,000 colleagues have since joined. In order to connect helpers and interested persons with each other, upgrAid establishes contact to over 30 social and ecological projects. “We see ourselves as mediators for greater social commitment and help employees become involved in their own choice of projects. In doing so, we not only contribute towards solving our social challenges, but also towards the cultural shift in values within the company,” comments upgrAid founder Toni Heigl.

Carmen still well remembers how she came across the Münchner Tafel. “I had seen people rummaging in waste bins in a rich city like Munich just to get the deposit on empty bottles.” She didn’t look away from what she saw and now knows how easily people become dependent on aid because of age, illness or simply a stroke of fate. Her services at the Tafel include more than merely the handing out of food. She talks to people, encouraging them not to give up, and is happy when one of them no longer needs the food bank and finds work.

The BMW Group appreciates its employees’ private commitment, because thanks to initatives such as upgrAID, they not only support society but also the company, which assumes responsibility through social and ecological projects worldwide.