To Give people in need a hot bowl of soup.
The Soup Place, The Big Umbrella and In Rush Cafe is feeding Melbourne’s homeless with a pay-it-forward project. Diners can pay an additional $3.50, then leave a message on a sticky note to be redeemed for a bowl of soup – which normally costs $7.50 – by someone in need.
Owner George Paraskevopoulos, who has had hospitality businesses in the CBD for 15 years, has seen first-hand the increasing problem of homelessness. In March 2015 he decided to do something to help. Since then, he estimates The Soup Place has served more than 6000 meals to those in need.
“We didn’t want to go through a traditional charity because we wanted to help those in need directly,” says Paraskevopoulos. “We don’t place any restrictions or do any screening. People can come and eat once or twice during the day, whenever they’re hungry. They don’t have to wait until 7pm when a soup kitchen starts serving.”
At any given time there are 100 to 150 meals waiting to be redeemed. Paraskevopoulos has expanded the concept to the city outlets of his In a Rush cafe chain, where people can also pay it forward (for soups, all to be redeemed at The Soup Place). His team is also working on a digital platform, which people can use to donate online.
Participating In a Rush cafes:
Corner Swanston Street and Flinders Street (Federation Square)
390 Little Collins Street
607 Bourke Street
700 Bourke Street (Etihad Stadium)
800 Bourke Street (NAB Docklands)
200 Queen Street
45 William Street
99 Spencer Street (Southern Cross Station)
Southgate Upper podium (Southgate Complex)
424 St Kilda Road
The Soup Place
14 Centre Place, Melbourne
(03) 9663 8844
Mon to Sun 7am–7pm