WE ARE IN A SITUATION OF UTMOST URGENCY AND WE NEED IMMEDIATE ACTION.
The will and citizen initiative have been very palpable for months in all the neighborhoods of Madrid.
The Plaza Solidaria association is a non-profit group, made up solely of volunteer activists, which has been in charge, for more than nine years, of preparing and distributing dinners among people who live on the street or are in a situation of social exclusion. .
Before the pandemic, we distributed an average of 160 meals a day to the people who need it most . These dinners were prepared by our volunteers in their kitchens from their homes. The logistics, management and coordination of resources, both human, financial and material available to the association, is carried out by the volunteers who make it possible every day. Our philosophy is simple: all the people who are part of this project, whether they are members of the association or people who attend the distributions out of necessity, we are all equal and deserve the same treatment. Social justice drives us to improve, drives us to learn and be better people every dayand we are fully aware that we can all find ourselves in a difficult situation at any given time. Values ??such as solidarity, community, compassion and humility bring to the surface the true humanity that each individual carries within. That is why we fight every day, to try to be consistent with our ideals and with our values.
LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS TO OVERCOME COVID-19
When this unexpected pandemic began, we had to stop our activity on the street, in our plaza in Tirso de Molina. Since 2011 we have been distributing dinners there because of the difficulty of finding a place, but above all, on a symbolic level, so that this problem could be visualized. The queues of hunger have always been there and there was never a real solution after the crisis of 2008. Since its foundation Plaza Solidaria has sought “social justice”, that we all have the same opportunities and that no one lacks bread, shelter, health universal… that self-love keeps us in the fight for these causes included in both the Spanish Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In the pandemic we have reoriented our activity to be able to serve the people who needed it most, currently Plaza Solidaria is focused mainly on three fronts:
- The management of assistance to families (we manage assistance to approximately 110 families). Currently we continue to care for and tutor about 40 families while we find a solution that will come sooner or later.
- Mobilizing resources to support other associations in Madrid. Some such as the improvised African food bank in the designer Besha Wear’s clothing store, neighborhood associations in Aluche (AVA or Las Águilas neighborhood group), Dragones de Lavapiés or La CuBa (acronym for Lavapiés Cuidando del Barrio, at the Teatro del Barrio de Lavapiés), receive or received punctually or periodically, depending on the needs, management capacity and volume of donations, food or essential products purchased with the money collected in donations by our association. During this period we had the invaluable help of the Lavapiés “Teatro del Barrio” that gave us their premises for the deliveries.
- Coordinating volunteers as well as cooks to help people who live on the streets or who are in a situation of social exclusion. We carried out this action together with our colleagues from “Neighbors of Lavapiés”.
WORKING AS A TEAM
During the confinement, several neighborhood associations (the Corrala de Lavapiés Neighborhood Association and the Sol Neighborhood Association and the Barrio de las letras) have also provided us with food to prepare these menus for people in need. Later we coordinated the kitchens of the restaurant “A Son de Mar” on Ave María 8 street, whose owner gave us his premises and his kitchens and where chefs such as Patxi Aizpuru, Pilar de Bernardo or Anna di Rubo commanded different groups of volunteers to, for a month, cover the needs of the Lavapiés neighborhood.
Currently these actions are carried out on Calle Olmo nº 20, and the food that we distribute is generated by the NGO founded by chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen and by volunteers from the neighborhood who cook in their homes and bring us the food servings prepared.
From Plaza Solidaria we will continue fighting, whether in a plaza, in a theater or in a dining room to manage people’s problems. On a small scale, from our tiny situation as a collective, but with the greatest energy and determination to change the reality of all the people who have a hard time every day.
Project Plaza Solidaria Winner “Aid for Social Commitment 2020” from the European University Foundation in collaboration with Santander Universities.