Her day starts early. The alarm clock rings at 5.30 a.m., but even before she gets up, Felicitas Haring practices daily gratitude. "I give thanks every morning that I'm doing well," she explains. This time together with God is very important to her.
After breakfast, during which Haring reads her daily newspaper and the Bible, she throws herself into her work. Her days are similar: in the mornings, she is out and about, running errands, visiting doctors, and collecting donations. After a short lunch break, she either devotes herself to the collection center or offers help in asylum centers, particularly in the area of language teaching.
Haring has been working for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) for three decades. She collects donations for people in need in order to meet their needs. From clothing, shoes, and bed linen to hygiene articles, medical supplies, and diapers, she collects everything people urgently need.
The collected items are stored in the warehouse in Theodor-Körner-Straße, in Bruck an der Mur, Austria, at the local Seventh-day Adventist church. This space was a modest attic 30 years ago, from which Haring started. Over the years, their outreach to support people in crisis situations developed, and they eventually moved into the current center.
Despite the larger facility, space is often a challenge. The community's willingness to support and donate generously is a remarkable sign for Haring in this day and age.
While money is occasionally collected, most of the shopping is done locally to procure much-needed supplies.
Haring explains the motivation for her tireless work at the ripe old age of 73: "I know the feeling of not being well. I was grateful for the help I received. In countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Turkey, I have seen the misery of the people. Once you have experienced this need, you simply can't help but help."
Haring’s faith in God and the Bible gives her strength and hope. As a believer, it is important to her to give comfort and hope to others, both through her faith and practical support.
The support of Haring’s five hardworking helpers, including her daughter Andrea, plays an important role. However, her family is also of paramount importance to her. Her husband, Heinz, Andrea, her son, Christian, and her grandchildren, Daniel and Gabriel, are at the center of her life.
For Haring, it is about serving others and helping them help themselves. Despite her own experiences of need and want, she feels deeply grateful and content. Sometimes, support simply means being there for someone without saying many words.
Haring’s efforts extend beyond borders to help people in her own country as well as refugees, such as those from Ukraine. She is always preparing to provide support for unforeseen disasters. Her vision is not only to provide material aid but also to offer comfort and hope.
Felicitas Haring is a living embodiment of compassion and practical charity, standing by people in need day after day.