ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) – Most weeks, Roman Redman does a couple of further hours within the kitchens of his ribs and burger joint in Saint Petersburg to cook dinner for a much less hipster clientele: the town’s poor and homeless.
FILE PHOTO: A chef of Caffe Italia restaurant cooks soup as a part of a charity program to assist homeless individuals in St. Petersburg, Russia November 28, 2018. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
The conventional meat and cabbage soup is ladled into huge flasks and pushed by volunteers to locations across the metropolis the place individuals dwell tough or subsist on small state pensions.
It’s then distributed free to allow individuals to eat and top off on provides and it’s significantly welcome in winter when metropolis temperatures can drop to -20 Celsius (-Four Fahrenheit).
“It’s only because of this that I survive,” mentioned one man after glugging down soup handed out from the again of a van on a frigid night final month.
Homelessness existed within the Soviet Union, regardless that the federal government supplied cradle-to-grave provisions, however because the collapse of the system in 1991 and its substitute by a free market the variety of homeless individuals has risen.
Official statistics say there are nearly 65,000 registered homeless individuals in Russia however others say the true determine is much increased.
The meals provide van is run by the Nochlezhka charity and stops at 4 areas within the metropolis nearly day by day, serving up soup and tea in addition to contributions from companion eating places like Holy Ribs, the place Redman works, and others like Italia.
Nochlezhka is a charity that helps the poor and homeless in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. For Redman, cooking soup is the way in which to make a distinction for individuals who usually obtain little state or neighborhood assist.
“The city lacks these kind of projects, there need to be more of them,” Redman mentioned.
The individuals queuing up for meals outdoors the van will not be simply homeless, but additionally pensioners.
One of them, Sergei, mentioned that half his 9,000 rouble month-to-month state pension goes in the direction of paying again a mortgage. “And it’s impossible to survive on 4,500 rubles ($68), right?” he mentioned.
For one other homeless man who recognized himself merely as “the duke”, the new soup and provides assist him get by the winter.
“You can’t cook anything in the street and Nochlezhka helps with warm soup and tea,” he mentioned. “At least you can bring a bottle with you into the basement and put it on a radiator, to warm the tea up again.”
Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg