Audi employees have their heart in the right place. Each year they donate large sums for disadvantaged people who are in need. Since being introduced in 1977, Christmas donations alone have amounted to more than EUR 12.5 million. In 2012, the Works Council once again conducted a special charity drive – called the “wish tree.”
Sabrina squirms excitedly in her chair in the company restaurant. It’s actually still a few days until Christmas, but Santa is already coming today for the eight-year-old girl. She peers again and again at the large tables filled with gifts, then says: “I wished for a Barbie – with long, blond hair, just like Rapunzel.”
Sabrina lives with her three siblings in the St. Joseph Home for Children and Youth in Schrobenhausen – one of five facilities in the region from which children have submitted their wish lists for Santa. The woman who cares for Sabrina, and who has brought her today to Ingolstadt, explains: “For many of the children at our home, there won’t be much at all under the tree on Christmas Eve.”
That makes it all the nicer for the little ones that so many Audi employees have now made their wishes come true: The children sent their wish lists to the Works Council weeks ago. After all, Christmas and presents go together, especially for children. A total of 180 disadvantaged children and youth from the Ingolstadt region were able to submit their wish lists. They painted and crafted, and for the second time now, a wish tree was decorated with their lists. Many Audi employees took the lists with them and played Santa.
As the gifts are presented, each individual child can now come forward, including Sabrina. Colorful paper decorated with a big, red bow – and inside is her Christmas present. It’s so large she can hardly carry it. Her eyes are bright and she can hardly wait to open it. “Anyone who has children themselves knows that the bright eyes of the children is the best part of Christmas,” said Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council.
“With this project, we want to bring joy to children who have not had it very easy in life.” Mosch himself donated the fire engine that eight-year-old Christian had wished for. A plastic guitar, a training bike or a new pair of pants – the wishes are small, but the joy they bring is great. But the presents will stay wrapped up until December 24 in order to preserve the magic of Christmas.
The wish tree project is one of many charity drives that round out the voluntary activities of Audi employees and of the company itself. These range from emergency aid in natural disasters to the annual Christmas donations by employees and the Board of Management, which was initiated by the Works Council. The donations, which reach impressive six-figure amounts each year, benefit social and charity organizations in the regions and worldwide.