Facts & Numbers, Volunteering Opportunities

Kältehilfe | How you can support Homeless People in Fall & Winter

Obdachlose Menschen Kältehilfe

With the beginning of the cold season, the Kältehilfe (Winter Watch) starts again this year all over Germany. This means that emergency shelters for homeless people will open again and Kältehilfe buses will be on the streets in many cities.

The associations and organisations behind the shelters, the Kältehilfe buses and the care of homeless people depend on the support of committed people – like you – for their work. Therefore, in this article we show you how you can help with time, money and attention to bring homeless people safely through the cold season.


From 1 November to 31 March, Kältehilfe buses are on the road in many German cities to regularly provide homeless people with food, warm drinks and sleeping bags, among other things. Many Kältehilfe initiatives have set up regular tours or meeting points for this purpose, thus giving people a fixed contact point where they can not only warm up but also talk about their everyday worries and problems. The Kältehilfe is organised differently in each region. Here we show you how you can support them in your area.


If you are outside in the city during the coming weeks, keep your eyes open for people who are suffering from the cold and may need help. Even if it takes some effort at first, talk to them in a friendly way and ask if they need anything. If the person concerned wants to accept help, you can directly contact Kältehilfe buses in some cities. They will note the location and arrange for initial supply. For serious cases, you should call 112.


In order for the Kältehilfe buses to regularly provide homeless people on their tours with warm drinks, food and e.g. clothes, they depend on donations. You can see exactly which donations in kind or money are needed on the websites of the respective organisation.


Contact & Donation details
BerlinWärmebus des DRKvia phone: 030 600 300 1010
(daily 5 – 12 pm) 
donate for DRK Wärmebus
Kältebus der Berliner Stadtmissionvia phone: 030 690 33 690
(daily 8:30 pm – 2:30 am)
donate for Kältebus der Berliner Stadtmission
Berliner Kältehilfevia phone: 030 34 39 71 40
(daily 7 – 11 pm)
donate for Berliner Kältehilfe
Malteser Wärmebusvia phone: 0178/523 5838
DüsseldorfGutenachtbus von vision:teilen & fiftyfiftyvia phone: 01578 3505152
(daily 9 pm – 1 am)
donate for Gutenachtbus
Frankfurt am MainKältebus der Stadt Frankfurtvia phone: 069 431414
(daily 9:30 pm – 05 am)
Malteser Wärmebusvia phone: 069/431 414
HamburgAlimaus Kältebusvia phone: 0151 65683368
(daily 7 – 12 pm)
donate for Alimaus Kältebus
Mitternachtsbus der Diakoniedonate for Mitternachstbus der Diakonie
Malteser Wärmebusvia phone: 040/401 782 15
HannoverKältebus der Johannitervia phone: 0800 0848488
(daily 2 – 8 pm)
donate for Kältebus der Johanniter
Kältebus der Malteserdonate for Kältebus der Malteser
KarlsruheKältebus des DRKvia phone: 07251 922999
Spenden für den DRK Kältebus
KölnKältebus des FDKSvia phone: 0176 24071312
donate for Kältebus des FDKS
Malteser Wärmebusvia phone: 0221/259 742 44
LeipzigHilfebus der Stadtvia phone: 01523 3661087
(daily 6 – 11 pm)
MainzKältebus der Obdachlosen-initiative „die Platte“via phone: 0172 6128282
MannheimKältebus der Stadtvia phone: 0621 2933425
MünchenKältebus München e.V.via phone: 089 200045930 /
donate for Kältebus München e.V.
Malteser Wärembusvia phone: 089/200 045 930
StuttgartMalteser Wärembusvia phone: 0711/ 219 547 76

If your city is not listed, you can find more (mobile) Kältehilfe initiatives with a simple search engine query for “Kältehilfe (or Kältebus) + city” (e.g. via ecosia.de).




Many emergency shelters for homeless people are looking for additional support from volunteers for the cold season, who help out with serving meals and looking after residents, among other things. If you would like to become active directly on site, you can find a small selection of projects to support homeless people here.

As we are only at the beginning of the Kältehilfe season, not all projects are listed here yet. More projects will be added in the coming weeks.

Support is needed for
BerlinBerliner StadtmissionReception, clothing storage, food distribution
Kältehilfe der JohanniterReception, food distribution, care, clothing storage
Tentaja KältehilfeRegistration, food distribution, counselling / talks
Berliner ObdachlosenhilfeDistribute food and clothing on support tours
Frankfurt am MainEssensausgabe des FranziskustreffFood distribution, talks and counselling
HamburgStraßenBLUESvarious tasks: from public relations to social work (depending on skills & interest)
KölnAWO KölnFood preparation for homeless people in the inner city of Cologne
Nürnberg, Dortmund, Mannheim, Wuppertal, Recklinghausen, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, BrilonYoung Caritas
(Warm durch die Nacht)
Providing meals and conversation to homeless people on the street

You can also find more projects to support homeless people at vostel.de.


Beyond the initiatives presented, you still have the opportunity, to equip gifting fences with food, blankets or clothes, from which needy people can help themselves individually. You should make sure that the food is (still) good and that the clothes are suitable for the cold season. On the site Gabenzaun.de you will find an overview of the locations of gift fences throughout Germany.


In addition to the Kältehilfe buses, there are a large number of projects throughout Germany that care for homeless people and that you can support with a donation. These include projects to provide clothing and meals, streetwork stations for street kids or a centre for homeless women. You can find a good overview of the different projects and funding needs on the donation platform Betterplace.org.


In many German cities there are a number of institutions/shops with fixed locations where you can make donations in kind for homeless people. These include, for example, the Motz shop or the Stadtmission in Berlin. You can also find local organisations in your area by simply searching for “Homeless clothing donations + your city”.

Please note that the needs of each organisation are different. In any case, it is worth taking a quick look at the website or calling them to find out what things are actually needed.

Through our social media channels (FacebookInstagramTwitter) we provide daily updates. Furthermore we keep you up to date on interesting projects and the latest needs of the world of volunteering.

If you yourself work for an NPO that also needs support, or if you know of a project in the field of supporting the homeless people, then let us know and write a short mail to rebekka.hesse@vostel.de!

Your team from vostel.de 

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