“Close by and necessary so as to help your neighbour”. This is the way Antonio Soler, a SEAT employee and Spanish Red Cross volunteer, describes collaboration between the car manufacturer and the humanitarian institution. This is the third year of SEAT’s collaboration with the organization, collection data being 3,000 kilos of non-perishable foodstuffs and 200 units of new toys. All told, after three years of joint campaigning, more than 7,000 kilos has been collected. An eloquent example of the solidarity of SEAT employees.
Antonio Soler is one of SEAT’s more prominent employees, having worked for the company for 34 years as a maintenance technician. Six years ago he began his collaboration with the Spanish Red Cross, at its Martorell and Abrera (Baix Llobregat Nord) centres. Antonio becomes emotional when he considers how these donations of food and toys, brought by employees from different SEAT centres, help the most needy families around us. “It is not easy to describe the emotions I feel as a volunteer. It is hard to see someone who, because of the circumstances of life, finds themselves in a difficult situation and needs to go to the Red Cross for help. It is gratifying to see that, when you do help them, you get a smile in return”, he says.
Antonio has first-hand knowledge of where the donations given to the Red Cross go, and is acutely aware of the value a company like SEAT brings, especially since this is the third year running of its collection campaign. More specifically, this year the products donated at SEAT are destined for the Red Cross Youth toy campaign and the ‘Humanitarian Partnership for Children’s Food’ “I think it is extraordinary that I company to which I devote so many hours should have this humanitarian face; I find it absolutely fantastic”, he comments.
A few days ago SEAT President Jürgen Stackmann made the official hand-over of the products collected to Javier Senent, Vice-President of the Spanish Red Cross, who thanked him personally for the support that the car manufacturer has given over the past three years. “The overall aim of this campaign is to collect food and toys to meet the needs of Spanish families who are going through hard times. SEAT’s collaboration in this initiative highlights its social concern for the problems of ordinary people”.
For two weeks SEAT employees brought basic foodstuffs and toys to special containers at the Barcelona and Madrid work centres as well as at several brand dealerships. After that period, the Spanish Red Cross collected the donations and distributed them among the most needy families.
By means of this collaboration, SEAT has made its modest contribution to the social support offered year after year by the Spanish Red Cross, an organization that in 2014 (year of its 150th anniversary) provided help in the form of food to 662,537 vulnerable children. And with this year’s toys campaign it hopes to get a smile from some 30,000 young children.
And Antonio knows a lot about smiles. His work as a volunteer begins when his working day at SEAT ends. He has a good few stories to tell after so many years, but he is particularly fond of when one of the persons being helped with the programme said to him “I won’t be needing it much longer, I’ve found work”. And then, says Antonio, the announcement is made out loud, and everyone applauds.