After a clear out at home recently, I had a couple of large sacks of out grown children’s clothes and old bedding and towels. I had heard about the charity cafe in Arrecife, Calor y Café and went to take our unwanted items there.
The charity has been in operation for the last 13 years primarily to provide basic hygiene and food to homeless people with drug abuse problems.
Its objective is to reduce risk and provide a “normal" daily contact which can promote healthy behaviours and offer support to stay away from drugs.
There is a community of homeless people in the capital who rely on these services to survive but there is also a wider reaching community of families who are now in quite desperate need who also rely on the food and support they receive at Calor y Café.
The cafe moved to larger premises this year when it was apparent the current economic crisis was affecting so many regular people and families who now also needed food and aid. The cafe now provides a very necessary service to many of the most under privileged people living in Arrecife.
It is situated in one of the large warehouses in the industrial area of Arrecife, on Calle Escotilla, no 27. It is directly opposite the “Electrisol" warehouse which is on the street perpendicular to “Chacon" Butchers.
The warehouse, water and electricity are paid for by the town hall of Arrecife but all other supplies are donated. They are supported by local business and supermarkets and the day I went they had a well received delivery of biscuits from Gangas Tias.
They have shower rooms and clean clothes available for the homeless who live on Arrecife’s streets or in abandoned properties around the capital.
They provide a hot three course meal for anyone who needs it. They also try to provide some food to take away, such as a filled roll or packet of biscuits that can be eaten the following day before the cafe re-opens. This depends on the supplies that have been donated and some days it is not possible to provide anything other than the one meal. The families are given a basic food package to try to meet their dietary demands as best as possible within the resources.
When I spoke with the nun Soraya Maria who organises the cafe and volunteers she informed me that currently up to 70 people a day are fed at the cafe with a further 100 families registered with them who receive food and assistance.
There are 22 volunteers in total with 2 working each day and a bank of 8 others who can be called for extra help or if someone on the rota can’t make it that day.
There are many small ways we can all help. If you have a clear out at home please donate clean clothes, especially winter clothes, coats and shoes. They also always need towels, sheets and blankets.
You can also help by buying a few extra groceries to donate. They really will accept anything and everything really does make a difference. Sor Ana asked me to make a request for basic groceries such as milk, pasta, rice, tinned meat or fish, and toilet paper, shampoo and soap. They also hope to make a Christmas food hamper for each family in need and so would also be very grateful for donations of Christmas sweets and treats.