‘Robin Hood’ Restaurant Helping To Feed Madrid’s Homeless

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There’s a new restaurant in Madrid with a rather unique business model. By day, it operates as any other cafe would, charging patrons a fair price for breakfast and lunch. Then at night, it serves dinner to the city’s poor and homeless free of charge.

The restaurant is run by a charity called Mensajeros de la Paz, which translates to “Messengers of Peace.” The charity was formed 54 years ago by a Catholic Priest, Father Ángel García, who came up with the idea for the restaurant.

“The inspiration came from Pope Francis, who’s spoken again and again about the importance of giving people dignity, whether it’s through bread or through work,” explains Father García, 79.

The restaurant uses the money it makes selling breakfast and lunch during the day to subsidize the cost of feeding dinner to those in need at night. Thus, the restaurant gets the name Robin Hood. Of course, as Father García says, “The idea is not to rob from the rich to feed the poor, but to share.”

Spain continues to be hit hard by last decade’s economic crisis. The country’s unemployment rate is nearly 20%, and Madrid’s homeless rate continues to climb towards a record high.

This makes the Robin Hood restaurant not only a great idea, but a necessity for a city like Madrid. “People with nothing can come and eat here in the restaurant and get the same treatment as everyone else,” says Father García. “It’s just common sense.”

The restaurant has not been open for long, but it’s already gaining a good reputation. “The food here is great and very elegant,” said one homeless man. “I’d give it loads of stars and I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Currently, the restaurant seats 50 people and has two different meal times, allowing them to serve 100 people every night. If things continue to go well, Father García is hoping to build more Robin Hood restaurants, turning it into a chain restaurant with locations throughout Spain that provide meals for the poor and homeless.