BAFA's soup kitchens provide a critical safety net to some of the neediest and most vulnerable members of society – the elderly, the orphans, single mothers and widows of the veterans of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Their lives have been fraught with losses and misfortune. They are the human faces behind the heavy cost paid by society for the country’s transition from a command economy to a market economy. However, each and every one of them is an individual that remains hopeful for a better tomorrow. We have come to know several of them during our visits. The simple meal they get at our soup kitchens may be their only meal of the day and the people they see there, their only lifeline to a sense of community, warmth and belonging.
We provide one meal per day in four soup kitchens, two in Yerevan – in Nork Massif and in Erebuni – and two in outlying communities – Nor Hadjin and Ashtarak.
Today we serve 700 elderly and children per day.
700 meals a day
3,500 meals a week
182,000 meals a year
BAFA’s soup kitchens are located in former restaurants or meeting rooms which are made available by their owners – a private individual, a corporation, an educators’ union and a civic organization. BAFA pays only for the utilities and limits repairs to modest updates of kitchen utensils. The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) provides management and operational support to all of BAFA’s soup kitchens. We employ 18 kitchen workers throughout the 4 soup kitchens.
FAR works with the local municipal authorities and the Ministry of Welfare in Armenia to identify the neediest people. The names they provide are vetted by FAR based on the guidelines we provide. We give preference to the elderly who are living alone, to single mothers, disabled adults and the very young.
When we first started, the cost to feed one person was approximately 30 cents per meal. Today that cost has almost tripled to about 85 cents per meal.
In addition to our support of soup kitchens we have partnered with other organizations in opportunistic ways to bring projects to close when discrete funding was lacking. For example we partnered with the Armenian Social Investment Fund (ASIF) to promote the welfare of citizens living in Armenia’s rural areas. In the village of Gugarq (population 6,830) we helped connect the village to water so villagers could have access.