Carina Rayeck washes dishes at the Luxembourg Red Cross’s Dernier Sol shelter. This image originally appeared in Delano’s February 2016 print edition
Photo: Sven Becker
Social cohesion: Meet one of the “Winter Action” volunteers.
As the first snowfall arrived in Luxembourg, the annual “Wanteraktioun” was welcomed by those gathering at the Red Cross’s Dernier Sol shelter in Bonnevoie. “We provide shelter and a warm meal for those that need it,” explains Carina Rayeck (whose arm is pictured) who volunteers twice a week at the facility.
This is the second year that Rayeck, a native Luxembourger, has volunteered for Winter Action. “The other volunteers are so nice and welcoming, it is a pleasure to come and help.” She usually starts at the centre around 11:30 a.m. “Today, I am washing dishes in the kitchen, so I am usually finished around 4 p.m., depending on how busy we are,” she said on 19 January.
This year, Wanteraktioun runs between 1 December and 31 March, and when temperatures drop below 5 degrees for prolonged periods of time.
Last winter 1,174 different people made use of the facilities--for a total of 19,046 total daytime visits--but Rayeck feels the number has been rising. “With the migrant crisis, I think there are more people using the facilities this year. As I am retired now, this is my way of giving something back to the community and to those in society who are most vulnerable.”
In addition to the canteen, there is a television room, a table tennis area and some beds and couches where people can sleep. Signs in English, French, German, Luxembourgish and Romanian dot the walls reminding people of the shelter’s policies. Security guards are also present to ensure that the occupants feel safe and are able to assist in case of any disputes. “There is relatively little trouble,” she said, “but the presence of the security guards is always welcoming.”
Overnight accommodation is provided by Caritas near Findel airport. Last year (the winter of 2014-2015) 674 different individuals registering for a bed for a total of 10,917 stays. “People can sign up for the nighttime accommodation at the reception to the Dernier Sol and buses will take them to and from the facility,” explained Rayeck.
In the canteen area at Dernier Sol, a piece of graffiti read:
“Man among men
One day I’ll leave,
Because I’m more than fed up
With living like a simpleton
In this world of barbarians.”