The "San José" soup kitchen, located in the Carabanchel neighborhood, opened a new kitchen this March to improve the preparation and distribution of meals to more than 300 families and people without resources, especially those affected by the pandemic.
This dining room, promoted by the Obra Social-Familiar "Álvaro del Portillo" and the "Familia y Cultura" Association of Vallecas, has already been distributing uncooked food for some 500 people since May 2020.
Volunteers - beneficiaries
The new kitchen is staffed by volunteers, most of whom are also beneficiaries of the "Amar siempre más" projects, to which this dining room belongs.
One of them, who learned about the canteen from some of his female colleagues who were beneficiaries, emphasizes that Omnes What I like the most is to do my bit for the most needy. I get involved and contribute as much as I can, it is satisfying to see the project grow and diversify. Although she also points out that sometimes "I think that some people do not appreciate the effort we make for them, because it is difficult to move the dining room forward and not everyone realizes it".
The San José dining room is not the only one in this project, as one of its managers tells us, "between Vallecas, Canillejas, Carabanchel and Tetuán, which are the dining rooms we have open at the moment, we serve about 2,000 people. Many of them are children".
The pandemic has been a challenge for this association since "Requests for food in Vallecas tripled, and we thought that the same thing must be happening in other places, so we set out to distribute prepared food in Getafe, San Fernando de Henares and Carabanchel. It was spectacular: hundreds of people came to ask for food. Many in really dramatic situations. Little by little the situation is normalizing, but there are still several new requests coming in every day".
The "Amar siempre más" project
All of them are part of "Amar siempre más", a project that also provides psychological and spiritual care, job training, accompaniment and a children's play area. "Our goal," they say, "is that each person who comes to the project becomes a saint. We try to accompany them so that they can be fulfilled and happy.
This includes offering help in the most basic things (food, clothing, shelter, job training...); in family ties, which are fundamental and often broken or deteriorated (training for the education of children, couple therapies, coexistence, psychologists, support for mothers, school support...) and in the spiritual, which is the heart of everything we do, because it is where the love that heals us springs from (retreats, volunteering, groups of different spiritualities, Alpha dinners, Christian formation...).
We try to make each person feel welcome, respected, like a family, and also responsible, because the project is woven with what each one of us contributes. Their work is based on a concept of comprehensive care and leadership of the beneficiary, who often also collaborates with the project.
The Álvaro del Portillo Family Welfare Fund
The Álvaro del Portillo Family Welfare FundThe project's promoter is made up of volunteers, as they define themselves, "enthusiastic about this project, eager to share our day-to-day work with those who come to the dining room, because we learn a lot from them".
As an example, the figure of Blessed Álvaro del Portillo, who "in the 1930s, went to the parish of San Ramón Nonato de Vallecas, where we were born as an association. Vallecas was then a very, very humble neighborhood and Don Alvaro helped the children in the area in everything he could and gave them catechesis. He took care of their bodies and their souls. That is why we decided to name the association after him. In a way, we are trying to continue what he started," they conclude.