Photo by Janina Gallert
Chuck out your assumptions of soup kitchens – the lines, moping heads, food slopped on plates by well-meaning people in hairnets. The Homeless Veggie Dinner is anything but.
Instead picture a charming, hostel-esque dining room in a Kreuzberg Altbau, where simply-arranged tables are adorned with inviting menus (in English!) and comforting floral arrangements to encourage diners of all kinds, travellers and Erasmus students as well as homeless people, to mix and mingle, whether broke or just up for a different dining experience – homey vegetarian/vegan food.
The first course is practically waiting for you when you sit down, and the second two arrive after a casually dressed ‘waiter’ takes your order – pumpkin soup to start; a choice of veggie curry with rice or veggie bigosz for the mains; and for dessert, a vegan cheesecake, chocolate brownies or pancakes with hazelnuts. Yum! All for a small, anonymous donation of whatever you can afford thanks to the generous sponsorship of two popular fixtures of the expat scene – the New Orleans Haus provides the ingredients and Café Hilde the drinks (sorry, no booze!).
HVD is the brainchild of Goodwill Records owner and couchsurfer Adam and his two friends, Natasa and Toni; the three international border-bouncers wanted to do something ‘worthwhile’. Apart from the grub itself, the trio are working on a project which aims to employ homeless people with cash from the donations. It’s the type of lofty, homegrown philanthropy that could only happen on a college campus – or in the alternative hotbed of Kreuzberg.
Don’t be fooled by the name. Only a fifth or so of the diners were actually homeless (perhaps they prefer Bratwurst to veggie couscous) making this a great oh-so-Berlin initiative for multilingual, curious or cash-strapped internationals. A great cheap meal for a good cause.
HOMELESS VEGGIE DINNER, typically one Saturday per month, 19:00 | Admiralstr. 17, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Kottbusser Tor. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org