100 Things You Should Know About Daimler | #17

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Daimler is “giving a smile” for Christmas

Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and chocolate Santas — yes, it’s that time of the year again! Young and old are making their final preparations for the big day. Children are decorating Christmas trees and parents are getting ready to put presents underneath them. But what happens if a family doesn’t have enough money to buy gifts? That’s where an initiative from Daimler can help out:

Every year in the weeks before Christmas, it’s time for Give a Smile at Daimler. Colleagues from all different units — from production to administration, and with everyone from trainees to Board of Management members — are wrapping Christmas presents. Those are then sent to food banks and other charitable organizations in Sprinter or FUSO Canter vehicles decked out in a Christmas-packaging look. The organizations distribute the packages to children from socially disadvantaged families who would otherwise receive very few Christmas presents, or none at all. The presents in the boxes are as colorful as the people who work at Daimler, whereby most of the boxes contain toys, coloring books, and candy. Everyone at Daimler who packs a box of gifts decides for themselves what goes into it Nevertheless, in order to ensure no one is favored or disadvantaged, there is a suggested spending limit of €20 worth of gifts per package.

Give a Smile was launched by employees at Daimler Financial Services and Mercedes-Benz Bank in 2008. The program activities were held at Group headquarters for the first time in 2010, when 1,200 packages were put together. Give a Smile was then rolled out at the Stuttgart and Sindelfingen locations in 2013. Extensive word-of-mouth got more and more employees interested in the program, with new locations joining in over the years — both inside and outside of Germany. An impressive total of 22,600 presents was collected throughout the Group in 2019. The driving force behind this commitment has been and remains Daimler employees: After all, Give a Smile wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t do such a good job packing!

The basic principle of packing gifts for socially disadvantaged children is the same everywhere, but things are sometimes done differently at different plants. Daimler employees also sometimes come up with unusual ways to raise money for the good cause. In 2016, for example, a plastic colleague at the Esslingen-Mettingen plant known as Hari Bo handed out a few gummy bears to employees and visitors who made a two-euro donation. The proceeds went to that year’s Give a Smile campaign.

Hari Bo helped out with “Give a Smile” in 2016.
Hari Bo helped out with “Give a Smile” in 2016.

Things are obviously a little more complicated this year with the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing rules and mobile working wherever possible means virtually no hustle and bustle with packages — or packing presents together. Still, the organizers at Group headquarters and at the locations knew early on that there was no way they were going to let Give a Smile be canceled! Some plants decided that Give a Smile would go on more or less as usual even in this special situation — with strict compliance with distancing and hygiene rules, of course. However, other locations came up with new ideas. In Stuttgart and Sindelfingen, for example, Give a Smile is being conducted this year digitally and contact-free under the fitting name Give a Smile 2.0. Anyone who wishes to can donate any amount they want to selected charitable organizations such as the Schwäbische Tafeln e.V. food bank, the SOS Children’s Villages chapter in Stuttgart, and the Flüchtlingsrat Baden-Württemberg e.V. refugee aid association. Some of the organizations have set up special donation sites on the Internet for this — in order to ensure children in need will still have a reason to smile this Christmas, even in the difficult times we are now facing. Merry Christmas!

Give a Smile in compliance with the corona measures at Evobus in Neu-Ulm.
Give a Smile in compliance with the corona measures at Evobus in Neu-Ulm.
A sprinter filled with presents at the Bremen plant.
A sprinter filled with presents at the Bremen plant.
A few presents were wrapped in Mannheim aswell.
A few presents were wrapped in Mannheim aswell.
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Give a Smile is part of Daimler’s WE CARE WE DO WE MOVE initiative, which encompasses all corporate citizenship activities at the Group.

In this column we present interesting, odd, or generally unknown facts from the world of Daimler. We publish a new story in the series of “100 things you should know about Daimler” regularly here on Daimler Magazine.

Richard Herder

Smiled now and again while researching this article. One reason was because of the moving stories he heard; the other was because of the possibility of being able to publish an article in Daimler Magazine. You could therefore say that Daimler gave him a smile as well this year for Christmas.

More about the author

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