Meals for the Homeless
Meals for the Homeless cooks and serves a warm 3-course sitdown meal twice a month to 120 homeless people. The meals consist of a starter (salad or soup), a warm main dish and a nice dessert, followed by coffee/tea and fruit. For special occasions like Christmas, Easter or St Valentine’s Day, we add surprises to the meal: a nice toiletry, chocolate etc. The meals have become a meeting point, where the guests can meet with their friends, talk with the street pastoral team, and enjoy a nice meal in a warm place. For those who want to, they can participate in an ecumenical service before the meal.
Meals for the Homeless started in 2006 as an initiative of the Church of our Saviour, the International Catholic church in The Hague. The idea was originally to replace the usual “soep met broodje” with a warm sit-down meal twice a month. We started small and we are now serving a maximum capacity of 120 guests. Any extra people are given a meal voucher. Meals for the Homeless has good contact with the different international schools in The Hague. Together, they organise projects for the homeless. Many students volunteer as part of their IB/ Community Service program. They come to help for the service, they organise collections (toiletries, socks etc.) to give to the homeless, and make the dessert from time to time.
Working at Meals for the Homeless is a thoroughly enjoyable and international experience. As our cooks come from all over the world, our guests experience many different tastes and colours and appreciate always our meals. In turn, our volunteers leave with a warm feeling. Pre COVID, for the “normal” sit-down meal, 15 volunteers helped in the kitchen as cooks and assistants, in the dining room as servers and as part of the dishwashing and cleaning team.
Since March 2020 and the lockdown, meals are distributed in takeaway bags. Our guests (and we) deeply miss the contact. We are looking forward to returning to a “normal” situation. Since March we work with a very limited number of volunteers. Meals are cooked from home and delivered to one address. A volunteer prepares the bags with a main meal, dessert, bread, fruit and sometimes some extras like chocolate, cookies etc and brings the bags to the street pastor to distribute them. It’s a real challenge to keep the main dish warm for when it is distributed.
If you want to help out, please contact Isabelle Pradier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any financial contribution is welcome. With Eur 2, we can prepare a nutritious meal for one person. Since March, we’ve been able to offer 2000 meals to homeless people thanks to donations.