The charitable Central Warehouse for Donations in Kind Bonn (ZeSaBo) accepts donations in kind such as clothing, shoes, textiles, linen and household items from private and commercial donors and makes them available free of charge to private and institutional customers who care for people in need.
Everybody who cares for needy people in Bonn, whether privately, voluntarily or full-time, receives goods at any time and in line with their needs in order to care for needy people.

How the ZeSaBo began

At the end of 2015, Bonn Refugee Aid was faced with the challenge of the urgent need to relieve the burden on the donation acceptance and distribution offices within the refugee accommodation and to support those accommodations that did not have their own clothing stores. This led to the plan to centralise the receipt of donations and to distribute the goods to the distribution points via buyers according to demand.

On March 1, 2016, the Central Warehouse for Donations in Kind Bonn (ZeSaBo) opened in the former Posthof in the Nordstadt district of Bonn. The warehouse is a joint venture of the development partners City of Bonn, Deutsche Post DHL, German Red Cross and the Catholic parish of St. Peter. On an area of initially 700 m², donations in kind were accepted, checked, sorted, stored and distributed to checked voluntary or institutional recipients (godparents and carers within the refugee aid) on three weekdays, exclusively by volunteers.

After one year, the ZeSaBo recorded over 5,700 hours of voluntary work, around 200 registered recipients and, with over 63,000 items of goods issued, a coverage of over 80 percent of the needs reported from the accommodation. At the same time, the inventory of goods remained at a high level and the willingness of the population and the economy to donate increased steadily. On 1 March 2017, the circle of recipients was therefore extended beyond the scope of refugee aid.

After 28 months, the ZeSaBo closed on June 30, 2018 with the following results:

  • By the end of the project the number of registered distributors had increased to over 350 who were, according to their own information, taking care of more than 15,000 people
  • Among others, these included City of Bonn employees, German Red Cross, AWO, Johanniter, Caritas, Diakonie, Salvation Army, Parish Administrations, and aid organizations such as Pro Familia, the Bonner Tafel or Kinderschutzbund
  • Of the registered distributors, 80% are volunteers
  • Brand new donated goods were received with a total value of over 85,000€ (including 27 pallets of toiletries with a value of more than 34,000€)
  • A steadily rising number of items collected for distribution of more than 5,000 items per week
  • A consistent volunteer effort with a total of over 17,000 volunteer hours worked
  • Well over 200,000 distributed items
  • Continuous and high-quality donations received from the general public
  • A high level of interest in both donating and helping from educational institutions and companies

Into the future at the new location

The model project, which was financed for a limited period of time by the development partners, ended when Deutsche Post DHL's rental agreement for the former Posthof and thus for the halls on the site made available to ZeSaBo ended. At the same time, evaluations and feedback from donors, helpers, customers, development and cooperation partners, as well as various awards and media reports, clearly demonstrated the success of the ZeSaBo.

The ZeSaBo e.V. was founded on 9 June 2018. It has set itself the task of revising the concept, assuming the role of tenant and operator and reopening the central warehouse for donations in kind in Bonn at a new location.

After a long search and many negotiations, the ZeSaBo was able to reopen at its new location in Endenich on April 1, 2019.

The reopening was made possible by a considerable reduction in rent and the generous support of the landlord as well as start-up financing in the form of a two-year rent subsidy (until the end of 2020) from the city of Bonn. The non-profit ZeSaBo e.V. is the operator and assumes financial responsibility for all necessary and incurred costs. All the shelves and tables that the city of Bonn had stored could be reinstalled on an area of 1,500 m². Former and new volunteers were immediately on hand again. Since then the number of donations and the number of customers has been increasing.

This is also shown by the following figures