Gourmet soup kitchen on wheels helps homeless

Providence, RI (WPRI) – Sometimes something as simple as a recipe isn’t so simple, but Martinha Javid was determined to create a way to offer the hungry a little more than mass produced food.

She means no disrespect to soup kitchens that feed the homeless. Still, when she founded MAE Organization For The Homeless, she wanted to give the homeless a taste of a better life, and also help them find a way get off the streets.

“This is my passion,” Javid said between stirring a few bubbling pots of food. “I couldn’t do anything that would make me any happier than what we are doing right now.”

It’s home cooking for the homeless.

“And I’m super excited. There’s nothing about us that cuts corners or is cheesy,” MAE board member Tuni Schartner said. “We want to serve them food we would eat. So, we’re all cooking food the way we would cook it at home.”

A contingent of cooks crush the kitchen at Vanity Supper Club in Providence once a month, and make about 20 gallons of food that is then taken on the road. As you might expect, there’s a line of hungry mouths to feed, waiting when they arrive at various outdoor locations.

“We come across the most amazing individuals with beautiful hearts and souls,” Javid said. “It’s really wonderful.”

She founded MAE in 2007, and was the only volunteer for years. But now she has a team that includes Schartner and many others.

“Boots on the ground,” Schartner said. “We get stuff done.”

Including helping those who are close to homelessness, avoid it. And while they serve one meal a month now, they’re working every day to help the many they feed, get the help they need.

“Our long term mission is to have a center that isn’t just a band aid but is actually helping people where they need help,” Schartner said. “Regulating their medicine. Job skills.”

They tell us while their service is free, they’re often paid in the appreciation they see on the faces of the many they serve.

Send your story ideas to Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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