A soup kitchen in Helsinki, run by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Finland, serves a hot meal every Sunday. Volunteers help run the activity, which reaches a growing number of people as poverty and financial difficulties are a reality for more and more people across that northern Europe nation.
“My first time in a soup kitchen was a little over two years ago,” ADRA Finland volunteer Linda Helin said. “I recently got to know the Adventist Church and was asked to join ADRA’s food distribution. I liked the experience so much that I regularly served in the soup kitchen. Now we are responsible for distributing food bags and soup to the Oikos community of young adults once a month. Sometimes new people have joined, who are interested in experiencing the atmosphere of the soup kitchen and being helpful in different ways.”
The soup kitchen has a warm and communal atmosphere. Volunteers prepare soup and sandwiches and collect food bags. Many customers visit the food delivery service every week and become good acquaintances.
For visitors, a soup kitchen is not only an opportunity to get a warm meal but also a chance to meet friends and socialize. Volunteers take time to talk to people and listen to their stories. The most important thing is that each participant’s physical and social needs are met.
“The soup kitchen is an easy and comfortable way to serve others and get to know ADRA’s activities,” Helin said. “I warmly recommend working as a volunteer in the soup kitchen to anyone interested and wants to spread good spirits and put a smile on their faces as well.”
ADRA Finland and its predecessor ADA have been helping the poor in Finland since the 1960s. Together with their regional partners, they organize food deliveries, porridge breakfasts, soup kitchens, shared meals, and the distribution of free clothes and home textiles in different parts of the country.
In Finland, the organization distributes around 80,000 to 100,000 kilograms (roughly 176,000 to 220,000 pounds) of European Union food aid to those in need every year. Around 30,000 to 40,000 people in Finland use assistance through ADRA Finland annually, agency leaders reported.
ADRA Finland is part of ADRA International, a worldwide network that delivers aid and development assistance to people in more than 130 countries, regardless of their ethnicity, political leaning, or religious affiliation. Through partnership with governments, town halls, and organizations, ADRA has been improving life quality standards for millions. In Europe, ADRA is present in 30 countries.