The Compassion Soup Kitchen – Te Pūaroha has been operating in Wellington’s inner city Te Aro area for 120 years and currently serves around 100-120 meals a day at breakfast and dinnertime. No one has ever been turned away from The Compassion Soup Kitchen due to a lack of food! Even during COVID-19 lockdown, we continued to provide food to Te Whanganui-a-Tara – in fact we had a jump in demand. Instead of the usual hot meals served in our dining room, we moved to one takeaway service per day and cooked extra to provide kai for other Wellington agencies that support people experiencing homelessness.
Our team working during Level 4 lockdown 2020.
What do the guests have in common?
The whanau come to the Soup Kitchen to connect with others over a tasty and nutritious meal.
Who can come for a meal?
Anyone! Some guests are experiencing homelessness, some are experiencing isolation and value the friendship of others, some are experiencing health issues and addictions, and some need support through a period of crisis.
How much does it cost?
Breakfast is free, dinner costs $2 each night, or guests can buy meal cards for $5, $10, or $20 which respectively get you 3, 7, or 15 meals at The Compassion Soup Kitchen. The Soup Kitchen believes the $2 charge supports the dignity of guests by allowing them to choose to spend their money rather than take charity, and it encourages people to think about budgeting and how they prioritise spending their money.
What’s on the menu?
In the mornings hot soup and bread is served. The evening meals are ‘family style’ meals – for example, roast pork and vegetables, chicken and pasta, stews and vegetables. There is dessert most nights and fresh fruit is served whenever it is available.
What else happens at the Soup Kitchen?
The Soup Hub runs weekly, providing a space for guests to come and use computers for free and volunteers help with writing CVs and cover letters.
The Soup Kitchen has a dedicated support worker who works one-on-one with guests to help them with access to benefits and housing. The support worker also helps guests to find services to meet health needs, such as counselling, anger management, addiction or mental health support.
On top of these services guests can get a haircut, access the expertise of a nurse practitioner on site, and use the Orange Sky washing machines and showers at our place.
There is also the opportunity to do gardening, sewing, and creative writing so guests can learn new skills and contribute to the Soup Kitchen in different ways.
Sister Telesia in our māra.