Hot Food Brings Warmth to the Poor in St. Petersburg

By Amy Tang

Spending a few extra hours in a kitchen can make a difference.

In Saint Petersburg and Moscow, a charity named Nochlezhka is helping the poor and the homeless.

At four locations in Saint Petersburg, soup, tea, and food from partner restaurants are distributed free almost daily to those in need.

The temperature can drop to as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, and the work of the charity is particularly appreciated at times like this.

Roman Redman, a chef who works at one of the charity’s partner restaurant, “Holy Ribs,” told Reuters that he gives a few hours to cook for the charity.

“The city lacks these kinds of projects, there has to be more of them,” said Redman.

The number of registered homeless people is 65,000 according to official statistics, but the actual figure can be much higher.

Outside the supply vans, homeless people and pensioners queue up for food and liquid.

“(Without this bus) it would have been much harder. And with it there’s at least some hot food, at least something warm to eat, something liquid. You cannot cook anything in the street,” said a homeless man.

“They keep back 50 percent of my pension to pay back a loan. And it’s impossible to survive on 4500 rubles ($68) (a month), right?” said Sergei, a pensioner.