Sitting at the same dinner table with people from other social classes creates social contact that otherwise wouldn’t happen on the street
Homelessness is among the major societal problems of big cities. Even in an economically strong country like Germany, thousands of people sustain their lives without a secure and safe housing or regular nutrition. A group of volunteers in Berlin has been tackling with this problem and trying to create a positive impact in homeless people’s lives.
Once a month, homeless and poor people are welcome to a three-course-meal event in Kreuzberg (Berlin), organized by a group of international volunteers. They prepare, cook and serve the food for roughly 250 people at a time. The dinner is open to everyone willing to share a meal or a story with the underprivileged members of our society and is offered free of charge. Whoever wishes to support the idea, can leave a free donation for the meal, but no one is asked to. The event often includes entertainment in the form of a music performance, a game, a play or even a movie screening.
Dario Adamic, the initiator of Homeless Veggie Dinner, has come up with the idea of using food that is soon to be destined for waste containers and transforming it into delicious dishes. A volunteering team collects such food donated by individual sellers and/or supermarkets. Once the food arrives to the venue, the cooking team creates the menu based on the ingredients available and prepares the dinner. Serving of the food and the cleaning afterwards are also done by the volunteers, who themselves enjoy the meal during the evening.
Although the dinner is at the core of the event, “it is merely an excuse for bringing people together”, says Adamic and adds: “A lot of these people live in a segregated community where the only interaction is with the other members of the said community or the social workers. Sitting at the same dinner table with people from other social classes creates social contact that otherwise wouldn’t happen on the street.”
Scaling the Impact
Although it doesn’t tackle with the roots of the homelessness problem, Homeless Veggie Dinner has obviously been creating a positive impact in the lives of hundreds since 2010. Indeed, the idea has been spreading and new volunteers have been joining the initiative. There is also a quite bit of media coverage on the event already (Check, for example, the news on Deutsche Welle and Tagesspiegel).
In order to attract financial support and, thereby, scale its impact, the initiative has been working with GIG on pro bono basis for legal advice. The goal is to transform the community initiative to an association, which would present a legal basis for further financial and organizational activities.
If you are interested in a similar advisory help and/or want to support/cooperate with the homeless veggie dinner on financial and/or organizational matters, contact GIG!