Who can come for a meal?
Anyone! We serve meals to anyone who would like to eat here. There are no forms to fill in, and we don’t ask why you’re here. The staff may talk to people about their situation, to see if there are other agencies that may be able to offer support, but if people don’t want to chat, they are still welcome to eat at the Soup Kitchen.
Who comes to the Soup Kitchen?
Some of our guests are homeless, some are isolated and value the friendship of others, some are struggling with health issues and addictions, and some need support through a period of crisis. Many people enjoy coming for dinner here, and find it a great way to catch up with friends, but often we don’t know why people come.
The reasons for coming and the length of time people need the service are as complex and varied as the individual men and women who find their way to the Soup Kitchen.
Is everyone who comes here homeless?
Some people who come here are what many people think of as ‘homeless’ – they are sleeping rough. In New Zealand, people are also considered homeless if they have no other options and are in temporary accommodation, for example, a boarding house or night shelter; are sharing accommodation – e.g. couch-surfing; or are living in uninhabitable housing like a garage or squat. Many people who come to the Soup Kitchen are in those situations, and many also live in WCC housing, or state housing. Some people have a room in a flat.
How many people come each day?
Every day is different – sometimes we serve up to 100 people in an evening and 60 for breakfast. Other days can be quieter and numbers can go up and down for no obvious reason. Some people have been coming for long periods and others pass through. When someone stops coming we often don’t know the reasons. Catering for the fluctuating number of guests is one of the challenges for the kitchen staff – but we never run out of food!
What sort of food do you serve?
In the mornings we serve hot soup and bread. The evening meals are ‘family style’ meals – for example, roast pork and vegetables, chicken and pasta, stews and vegetables. We usually serve dessert three nights per week and fresh fruit whenever it is available. Our kitchen staff works hard to ensure that the meals have a high nutritional value as we are aware that many of our guests rely on the food service here to meet their daily recommended intake across all food groups
What does it cost?
Breakfast is free, dinner costs $2 each night, or guests can buy a five or ten trip meal ticket. We believe the $2 charge supports the dignity of guests by involving choice and purchase rather than charity, and it encourages people to think about budgeting and how they prioritise spending their money.
What other services do you provide?
We’ve always got a lot going on in and around the Soup Kitchen. We run the Soup Hub Monday, Wednesday and Friday, providing a space for guests to come and use computers for free. Here volunteers help with writing CVs and cover letters. We also take a number of our guests fishing on Mondays to bring kai back to our kitchen.
How can I help?
There are so many ways! Many people volunteer at the Soup Kitchen. We have around 200 active volunteers, the majority of whom help with the evening meal service. We appreciate people just telling their friends and whānau about our work. We’re always grateful for donations of services – or professional help with our many projects, as well as donations of food or money. If you’d like to help out, check out our Get Involved section, or have a chat to our staff for more information. The Wellington community has been supporting the Soup Kitchen for over 115 years!