Soup Kitchens

Join us in sharing the love, one ladle at a time.

While Ladles of Love have grown to become so much more than only a soup kitchen, this is where it all started for us in South Africa. One man, a pot of soup, and a vision to reach out to make a difference.

On a chilly July evening in 2014, a small team of volunteers came together to serve 70 hot meals at the first official soup kitchen. That same kitchen now happens every week, serving hundreds of nutritious meals each time.

From our humble beginning as a single soup kitchen, we’ve grown our network substantially.

From 70 to 250 000 meals served per week in only 6 years

From 70 to 250 000 meals served per week in only 6 years

From 70 to 250 000 meals served per week in only 6 years

Cape Town is a city with a large homeless community and extreme wealth disparity. Thousands of families are vulnerable and in need of support. It can sometimes be hard to see how anyone can make a meaningful difference. However, a piece of bread and some hot soup made with fresh vegetables can mean everything to someone.

Zahid Badroodien, Cape Town mayco member for Community Services and Health, estimates that there are currently around 10 000 homeless people in the city alone. With around only 1 500 shelter beds available, jointly funded by the municipality and provincial Department of Social Development, there’s clearly a shortfall – and a lot of people with nowhere to go who need our help.

Homeless man sat in temporary shelter eats soup given at a Ladles of Love soup kitchen

A bowl of soup may not sound like much, but it’s a lifeline to some. And when people come together, incredible things happen.

A community where everyone benefits

Our efforts are powered by love – the love of our seva warriors. Some come for one soup kitchen, while others return week after week. Although volunteering is an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience, it’s also full of love, joy and silliness. It fills your heart and feeds your soul.

It’s about more than feeding the hungry. It’s about breaking down the social barriers that exist between us, and connecting people regardless of their gender, colour, religion, or social status. We’re building the nation we know we can be.

Seva – a beautiful Sanskrit word that refers to the art of selfless service. However, it’s more than a desire to help others without wanting anything in return. It’s a genuine desire to uplift those around you.

Smiling volunteer pushes an empty trolley through the Ladles of Love warehouse
 

When and where

Currently, we run four volunteer soup kitchens a week in Cape Town. Our team prepares fresh vegetable soup, and our volunteers serve it to the waiting guests along with fresh bread and a drink.

Tuesdays & Thursdays
16:45

The Ladles of Love Roeland Street kitchen
at The Hope Exchange

Wednesdays
16:45

The Ladles of Love Roeland Street kitchen
at The Hope Exchange

Saturdays
11:30

The Ladles of Love Roeland Street kitchen
at The Hope Exchange

If you’re not in Cape Town, but would still like to get involved, see how else you can help.

How to volunteer at a soup kitchen

Complete the registration below and we will send you an email with the necessary details. You only need to do this once, even if you’d like to join us regularly.

Soup Kitchen FAQs

Not sure what to expect when you volunteer at a Ladles of Love Soup Kitchen? We answer some of the questions we get asked most often.

Why volunteer at a soup kitchen?

It’s a great way to contribute to our community. It provides an ideal opportunity to:

  • give back
  • understand some of the complex issues around homelessness
  • make a difference
  • meet new friends and connect with people from all walks of life

It’s a way to feel good about yourself, to show you care, and to help make Cape Town a better place to live for everyone.

What must I bring with me when I volunteer?

You only need to bring your facemask (this is essential). We provide everything else.

Do I have to register to volunteer?

Yes, you need to complete the registration for above to volunteer at our soup kitchens. This will ensure that we can send you the necessary details on the event you would like to join, such as time, place and any other important information you may need. You only need to register once, even if you’d like to join us regularly.

How long does the kitchen last?

Each kitchen lasts 45 – 60 minutes, depending on how many guests we have to serve that day.

When do these kitchens happen?

There are four different times you can join:

  • Tuesday @ 16:45 – Our Roeland Street kitchen at The Hope Exchange
  • Wednesday @ 16:45 – Our Roeland Street kitchen at The Hope Exchange
  • Thursday @ 16:45 – Our Roeland Street kitchen at The Hope Exchange
  • Saturday @ 11:30 – Our Roeland Street kitchen at The Hope Exchange, in collaboration with RPJ Helping Hands

Can I bring my friends and family along?

Yes, everyone is welcome, but remember to get them to register here first before showing up.

What sort of tasks might I be given?

Soup kitchen volunteer duties include setting up our pop-up serving station, ladling soup, slicing bread, pouring drinks, serving food, managing the queues, and cleaning up. You may also be asked to run our sanitising station.

Do the kitchens still happen if there is bad weather?

People really do rely on our soup kitchen, and Cape Town has notoriously unpredictable weather! We don’t let that stop us though – all Ladles of Love operated kitchens happen every week without fail, come rain or shine. No matter the weather, we’ll be there. We also run our kitchens as usual on any days that fall on public holidays.

Can I store my valuables safely during a soup kitchen?

We’re a pop-up kitchen, so we don’t have a secure area for handbags, wallets, car keys, and the like. We recommend you bring only the essentials along with you when you volunteer.

Any other questions? Drop us an email.

How to to get involved

Not in Cape Town? Or want to get involved in some other way? There are so many ways to help – from volunteering at a soup kitchen, to sponsoring a Community Kitchen. Every bit of support matters, and we’ve made it as easy as possible for you to get involved and make a real, measurable difference.

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