Starting Wednesday the 10th of February, the Salvation Army (Leger des Heils) will receive once a week a hot meal for homeless people in Amsterdam, prepared by the RAI chefs. They will make a warm meal for about 100 people a week from the frozen supplies, which cannot be processed in time in the RAI's business due to the coronavirus situation. The Salvation Army's ‘soup van’ then distributes these hot meals at three locations in Amsterdam.
Rientz Mulder, Executive Chef of the RAI, is pleased that in this way they can resume their cooperation with the Salvation Army. “The harsh winter weather is hitting hard and makes life on the streets in Amsterdam impossible. To approach the hard-to-find target group, the Salvation Army has called on our cooperation. Before the coronavirus we also delivered food to the Salvation Army and the soup van every week. We had to stop doing this due to the coronavirus measures. Now the importance of a hot meal is essential and can even save lives. We are therefore happy to help our partner. Together we will get through the winter," says Mulder.
The collaboration with the Salvation Army is typical for the social character of the RAI's kitchen. Under the title ‘Heartwarming Amsterdam’, the RAI chefs undertake various activities with a social impact. From helping to prepare the largest online Christmas dinner for 3,700 people at the end of 2020, an initiative by Resto van Harte in the fight against loneliness. To continuously working on expanding the cooperation with local Amsterdam suppliers. These often have an organic or social focus. “For example, we process fresh products from local suppliers. The idea behind this is to give the often international RAI visitors the 'taste of Amsterdam' with more organic and local food. Moreover, these often vulnerable suppliers have been helped with the RAI’s purchase and there is a lot of savings on transport, because the supply lines are short.” says Mulder.
However, due to the coronavirus situation, the international RAI visitors stay at home, but this does not stop the RAI chefs. Rientz Mulder: “We are constantly looking for what we can do with our expertise, products and facilities, for the city and certainly also for our partners. For example, we have made tomato soup from the tomatoes of Urban Nusery Osdorp and chicken soup from the Rondeel chickens. Both soups were made for care farm Hogerlust, which can sell the soups again. In this way we can support both the local suppliers and the care farm in these difficult times.”