At the fall retreat in Cologne we will once again be collecting the following articles for donation:

  • backpacks for those in need
  • eyeglasses for children and adults,
  • used and new stamps for a charity, and
  • books for the book swap.

Please stop by the Social Action table to leave donations at any time during the retreat.

We will NOT be collecting corks, but scroll down to find out where you can donate corks.

Backpacks for Refugees in Brussels — The Brussels Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will be collecting backpacks and soft cover attaché cases to help refugees arriving in Brussels. With these items, people can carry their most precious papers and other valuable items on their person for safekeeping. The BUUF will bring them back to Brussels and donate them directly to refugees at one of the “reception” sites in Brussels.

(Contact person: Aude van Lidth:

Glasses for School Children in Egypt This is a collection for impoverished children attending public schools in the city of Kafr Dawar in the Nile Delta near Alexandria, Egypt. Broken glasses are also welcome. Aude van Lidth will oversee the coordination and distribution with an optician. She will donate personal funds and work to have a community collection for this action.

(Contact person:  Aude van Lidth:

Eyeglasses for a Clinic in Burkina Faso — The Paris Fellowship will once again be collecting eyeglasses, lenses and cases. Even broken glasses can be repaired and reused.

(Contact person: Betty Abugheida:

Stamps for Hamburg — Laura from Hamburg, Germany, will again collect used or new postage stamps at the retreat. She passes them on to the German Unitarians and a group that does projects for the physically challenged. They both sort the stamps and sell them to stamp collectors in order to finance small social projects. Bring your stamps to the Social Action table.

Book Exchange — For our traditional book exchange, bring books you would like to exchange and then take some you would like to read. We ask you make a small donation (1 or 2 euros) for the ones you take, as this money is given to the charity chosen by the retreat committee. If you plan to bring a large number of books for the exchange, please ask the Social Action Coordinators ( a month before so that we can make arrangements for the books not taken.

Corks – In the past, the EUU collected corks at retreats. This activity became so successful, the volumes made it impossible to handle the collection! If you would still like to donate (non-plastic) corks directly, please send them to:

  • In Germany: The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) in Hamburg
    The KORKampagne of the NABU Hamburg has set out to collect and recycle as many of the 1.2 billion bottle corks that are generated annually in Germany. This could be 32,000 cubic meters of environmentally valuable insulating granules for home construction. So far, only one-tenth of the bottle cork is re-entered to the materials cycle. From the proceeds of insulating granulate sales, NABU supports crane protection projects in Spain — the home of cork oaks — and Germany. The aim of conservation work in Spain is to preserve the traditional cork industry and thus the unique landscape of the Dehesas. You can find more information (in German) at under “KORKKampagne”, including where you can deposit your used corks.
  • In France:  French bottles of wine and champagne still come with corks. And these corks can be recycled at any Nicolas wine shop in France. Nicolas Wine shops recycle corks and contribute proceeds to environmental projects, an easy gesture and a real bonus for the environment. They are sold to manufacturers to be reused (in décor, insulation and other building materials), with the proceeds being used to being used to plant new cork oak trees in France (8000 corks = 1 tree). Recycle Your Wine Corks at Nicolas Wine, Champagne. 500 stores in the world:

If you have any questions, please contact us at Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Diana Smith and Jodi Stolzenbach,
EUU Social Action Co-Coordinators