This wonderful Soup Kitchen is located on Rua de São José, next to Doka’s Bar in Portimão and was started by the International Christian Fellowship Church of Portimão in May 2010, with just a handful of helpers who were feeding 12 people once a week.
The Soup Kitchen has greatly expanded over the past 11 years, now they serve around 100 people on the days that they are running. They serve hot meals, sandwiches, soup, cake, yogurts and fruit for takeaway. They are open three times a week on a Sunday between 1pm and 1:30pm and on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6pm and 6:30pm, open to absolutely anyone!
I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the founders, Joy Borgan, who told me that “we are short on volunteers and we are in need of seven to eight volunteers for each weekly session, which includes Sundays between 11am and 2pm and on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4:30pm and 7pm.” Joy told me that “if anyone is interested in volunteering and giving back to their community, your help is very much appreciated and volunteers do not have to commit to coming every week; you can have the flexibility to choose when to lend a hand but we are very grateful for anyone who can come every week.”
Joy assured me that “we follow all the DGS guidelines and provide masks, gloves and sanitising gel for everyone and there are usually only one or two people handing out takeaway bags at the door so if you would prefer to make sandwiches, prepare the give-away bags, clean up or help with cooking, there are always plenty of jobs to do.”
There are also other ways you can get involved, as they accept food donations as well as money for the weekly food shop. In regards to donating food: rice and pasta are very useful for making hot meals, as well as yogurts, fruit, bread, ham and cheese for sandwich making. Additionally, they are also in need of any volunteers who are willing to drive to pick up food from the Portimão Food Bank or from Intermarché Alvor, where food is also kindly donated and in need of being brought to the Soup Kitchen. They would also be very appreciative if anyone could donate preloved clean summer clothing especially small sizes of men’s clothing like t-shirts, shirts, shorts, trousers and shoes.
A Volunteer’s Experience
“I started volunteering in Portimão Soup kitchen in October 2019 when it was a regular soup kitchen and I did this once a week for a couple of hours. We would serve 25 to 30 customers regularly, who would come in and sit down and we would serve them soup, sandwiches, cake and drinks. Then the lockdown happened and in March 2020 the Soup kitchen closed due to Covid-19.”
“Joy with her fortitude and determination decided to re-open the soup kitchen, as soon as regulations allowed and I started volunteering again and this time we did takeaways. This involved giving the customers, soups, sandwiches, cakes and whatever else we were donated by supermarkets. We started serving around 25 to 30 but since then we have been serving a lot more people and last Tuesday, we gave away 105 bags! All of the food is donated and sometimes the volunteers bring items.”
“The duties are really simple; there is no hierarchy and you just come in and you can decide to make sandwiches, or pack bags or distribute them out to customers or clean. Due to it being takeaway only, it’s generally about two hours of volunteering time. The other really good thing is that there is no judgement only acceptance and compassionate understanding: anyone that comes to our soup kitchen receives food, regardless of personal backgrounds. In my opinion anyone who needs to ask for food from a charity should be given food.
“Volunteering is really worthwhile: you really get a good sense of giving back to the community and there is a lovely sense of camaraderie, where you go away feeling that you have done something worthwhile. I urge people to make the time to volunteer and my advice to anyone who is even thinking about this, please do not be hesitant, just phone Joy and come on down to the soup kitchen, where you will receive a really warm welcome! All the volunteers do a fantastic job so hats off to them all for continuing to do this work.”
It is really easy to volunteer, so if you are interested in volunteering at the Soup Kitchen, picking up donated food from Portimão’s food bank or Alvor Intermarché or kindly donating food, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Joy Borgan via firstname.lastname@example.org or by ringing her on +351 917358098.
Soup Kitchen days and hours
Tuesday 6 to 6.30pm
Thursday 6 to 6.30pm
Sunday 1 to 1.30pm
Volunteers generally come about an hour and a half before opening to prepare the food and pack the bags.
Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.