There are two soup kitchens we work with in Buenos Aires, one in La Boca and one in Barracas. Where you get placed depends on availability at the time. Lots of people work in the soup kitchens, but there is never enough help and the volunteer’s collaboration is crucial.
The project in Barracas neighborhood started in 1994 driven by volunteer mothers and teachers of Villa 21 (Slums 21). Villa 21 is a large unstable housing settlement south of Buenos Aires. It mostly lacks paved roads and sewerage, many houses are made of perishable materials and have no running water or drainage. The neighborhood faces serious health problems as it is located on the creek that divides the capital city of the province, and is highly contaminated, causing respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases that primarily affect children. We also noticed that a large part of the population is of Paraguay origin (some of whom do not speak Spanish), adding a factor of cultural diversity to the existing problems of poverty, overcrowding, violence and general health. The dining room is visited by approximately 50 people from the neighborhood for lunch every day. The space is available to support teenagers when there are volunteer teachers willing to help them.
The community center in the neighborhood of La Boca is about 30 minutes from our Volunteer House in downtown Buenos Aires. The center provides educational activities and workshops, but it also has small cooperatives, micro enterprises, and the kitchen that receives more than 100 people every day to eat.