By Tara Rippin • 15 September 2020 • 13:04
PROJECT COSTA: All about helping and supporting the homeless on the Costa Blanca. CREDIT: Project Costa
The Project Costa team of volunteers will hit the streets tomorrow evening (Wednesday, September 16) in their first food distribution to the homeless.
THE object of the non-religious and non-profit organisation is to feed and clothe the less fortunate on the Costa Blanca, as well as offering a rehabilitation program for up to three people at a time in a halfway home and soup kitchen they are currently refurbishing in Benitatxell.
REFURBISHMENT: Steven and Arne
The team – founder Arne Seoten, chef Steven Barnes, Matty, Inge and Caroline – want to get alcoholics and drug addicts off the streets and back into society.
And while work on the halfway house and kitchen is speeding ahead, thanks to generous donations, including a fully equipped kitchen gifted by local business, Yorkshire Linen, the team are keen to get started on with the feeding side of the project.
Tomorrow evening (Wednesday, September 16) at 7pm, they will pitch up outside Lidl supermarket in Avenida de l’Albir, Albir, armed with delicious and nutritious meals to hand out to the homeless in the town.
Former restaurateur, Steven, has been busy putting together a variety of dishes, the first of which is pasta salad complete with bread.
“We here at Project Costa enjoy the same food as those living on the streets. We believe in serving only the freshest, most zestful food to the homeless,” Steven told Euro Weekly News.
“We don’t use past ‘sell-by date’ foods from supermarkets because we believe the homeless have suffered enough and should have proper diet and nutrition.”
NUTRITIOUS: Chef Steven has been preparing a selection of meals.
Steven has a wealth of experience of both feeding the homeless and living on the streets, having cooked 200 meals, three times a week, for the less fortunate in Rome.
“There are thousands of people living on the streets in Rome. It is a bit different here on the Costa Blanca, but the concept is the same.
“Once we are up and running, I really want the public to get involved. I’d like people to come and taste the nutritional food I will be preparing and give their feedback.”
To make sure they direct their support where it is most needed, Project Costa has called upon the assistance of Stephan, a homeless man who has become a familiar face in Albir, along with his white dog carried about in his adapted bicycle.
Steven and Stephan. CREDIT: Project Costa
“We have made contact with Stephan who will show us around Albir and Altea and help us meet with people living on the streets.
“We are taking it one day at a time to reach our goal, but things are moving very fact. It’s really encouraging,” said Arne.
And on the eve of the first food distribution, he said: “We will have enough food for 40 people but we really don’t know how many will come along. We have all the right machines to make sure that the food can be kept properly and re-sealed if only 15 to 20 people turn up.
“At the end of the day, every stomach we can feed makes it worth it.”
The whole team has been overwhelmed by the community response to their appeal for help so far.
“Thanks to our community’s unwavering support, the official Project Costa “Tweety” support vehicle is fully booked until October and cannot be used to collect any more food/clothing donations,” said Arne.
“We are looking for volunteers with a car who would be willing to offer any extra time they may have—whether it is one hour a week or two hours a day—to help us make collections throughout our surrounding communities. Any time would be greatly appreciated! “
Ever since Project Costa was conceived, Soeten, Steven and Matty, who all have experience of living on the streets, have not stopped.
“It IS paying off, with dedication and all the help received from our local citizens as well as our corporate donors. We WILL make it happen!”, said Arne.
In fact, in just weeks, Project Costa’s Facebook page already has 293 followers and is approaching 300 likes.
“This means we’re clearly not the only ones who want to change the world,” said Arne. “Project Costa seeks to inspire people, wherever they are, by showing how much small acts of love, kindness and compassion mean to a person in need.
ARNE: All acts of kindness make a difference.
“It may be by hugging someone who rarely receives affection, or inviting an elderly or lonely neighbour for dinner, or giving a homeless man a pair of new socks, helping lift a pram off the bus, or carrying the shopping for a stranger who is struggling.
“It doesn’t matter what we do, how we do it or where we do it, as long as we do it. Let’s just do it. Let’s bring kindness and compassion back into the world and change the society we live in.”
You can donate and check Project Costa’s website to find out other ways to help.
Project Costa welcomes clothes (especially men’s shoes and jackets and new socks and underwear), food (tinned, pasta, rice etc), sleeping bags, any euros (even €5 makes a difference), along with kitchen tools and equipment.
You can find Project Costa in Calle de la Mar, 31, Bentiatxell. Tel: 643 737 584.
For more Local Spanish News from Costa Blanca north, head over the page on the Euro Weekly News website.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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