Refettorio Gastromotiva and its network of solidarity

Since its opening in 2016, Refettorio Gastromotiva has been operating with the support of dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals - a true multi-stakeholder effort. But, it’s under situations of great stress and uncertainty that collaborations between different realities can really have the power to strengthen community resilience.

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Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Rio de Janeiro – like many other big cities around the world – has been struggling to implement social distancing measures while making sure that those most in need, or in situations of isolation and vulnerability, continue to have access to services and food.

As the whole nation was preparing for lockdown, Refettorio Gastromotiva started a Food Bank program with the help of 43 private and governmental organizations with the aim of  collecting food surplus and donating it to people in need from the community.

One of the organizations that support the Refettorio is the Toca de Assis, an emerging Catholic religious Community – this Catholic movement began in 1994 and has, since then, never stopped caring for the homeless, street children, and for those living on city streets in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

"We have extensive work with homeless people. With the pandemic they are even more in need of food and we are taking it to them, so that these brothers are not left helpless. And thanks to God we have projects like this that help us to keep up this beautiful work ... in a context where we are so in need. May God bless and repay. "

Francisco, volunteer at the project Toca de Assis

The LAR Institute offers several services to the community, helping people on the street to become more self-confident and independent. In addition to promoting social reintegration, the organization offers psychological support, educational opportunities, primary services, professional placement as well as support homeless people in withdrawing documentation such as ID, CPF, voter registration and vote card. 

"We work with people who live on the streets, a situation in which I have found myself one day. We serve meals from Sunday to Sunday. This epidemic is there, but we will continue our journey. I thank everyone who is donating. Thanks for the support."

Michael, volunteer at the Instituto Lar

Unfortunately, there are areas of the city where COVID-19 is likely to have even more serious effects, and building awareness and actions to mitigate the risks that the disease poses to the health and economy of the poorest areas is essential. One of areas more at risk is the Favela da Maré, one of the biggest favelas in the north of the city which has about 130,000 inhabitants. Here the community is supported by Redes da Maré, a civil society institution whose mission is to ensure the defence of the human and civil rights of those living in the favelas and promoting the recognition of the socio-cultural and economic potential of Maré. 

"We have a project to deliver meals to homeless people and basic food baskets for residents of Favela da Maré. We are grateful for this partnership with Gastromotiva, which has helped us. Keep donating and helping these projects, so the population that is vulnerable can resist, so they can stay at home. "

Luna, volunteer at the project Redes da Maré.

Morro da Coroa is another area of Rio that needs assistance and support:

"This donation that is being made to our community, Morro da Coroa, is of great importance. With the COVID-19 epidemic, there are many elderly people who are unable to leave home, many self-employed workers are not able to make market purchases because they lost their income. I am grateful, these donations are being very important for our community "

José Eduardo, president of Morro da Coroa (RJ) residents’ association.

Another community that is benefitting from the work of the Refettorio is the Aldeia Maracanã indigenous community.

"This partnership is very important for us, at Aldeia Maracanã. We will make an exchange too and donate our surplus. Thanks to everyone who is helping us "

Pajé (Shamam) Urutau Guajajara, leader of the Maracanã indigenous village, benefited by the Food Bank of Refettorio Gastromotiva.

Yesterday Refettorio Gastromotiva officially reopened its kitchen to prepare lunch boxes – the goal is to prepare 1,250 boxes per week that, in partnership with an organization called Covid Sem Fome (Covid without Hunger), are distributed to homeless people and families close of the Lapa neighborhood.