Baden-Württemberg: Warm things for heart and stomach: Vesperkirchen start

Offering people a warm meal in winter, seasoned with a sense of community and social counseling - that's the recipe that makes the Vesperkirchen so successful.

Baden-Württemberg: Warm things for heart and stomach: Vesperkirchen start

Offering people a warm meal in winter, seasoned with a sense of community and social counseling - that's the recipe that makes the Vesperkirchen so successful. Will more people get a taste for it in times of crisis?

Mannheim/Karlsruhe (dpa/lsw) - Poverty in old age, loneliness and homelessness are the reasons for visiting Vesperkirchen in the country. This year, due to higher heating and food prices, more people could take advantage of the church's offer of a warm lunch, which starts today in Mannheim and Karlsruhe. "Because of the energy crisis, it could be that the pre-corona number of 13,000 meals distributed will be exceeded," said deaconry spokeswoman Jessica Lammer in Mannheim. The season for a number of Vesper churches throughout the south-west begins with services in the Mannheim CityKirche Konkordien and the Karlsruhe Johanniskirche. In addition to the meal, visitors have access to medical, dental and veterinary care and advice from social workers. There are also free haircuts in some places.

In Karlsruhe, the infection situation is still being taken into account with a concept of huts around the Johanniskirche, in which clothing or coffee and tea are offered. Anyone wishing to enter the church must wear a mask. Food is take away. Last year, around 8,500 meals were distributed to the needy in the courtyards around St. John's Church, and 3,000 meals were also delivered to the homeless and alcohol addicts.

In Mannheim, on the other hand, food-to-go is only offered on a small scale. After all, the focus of the Vesper churches is on the experience of eating together, Lammer said. There is a meat and a vegetarian dish to choose from every day on the menu in the Konkordienkirche. The spectrum of donation-financed offerings ranges from roast beef in red wine sauce to potato curry. Everyone pays as much as they can for the meal. There are no controls in the church with its 250 seats. Lammer estimates the costs at 150,000 to 190,000 euros. In Karlsruhe, food is generally free.

The largest Vesper church in the southwest begins in Stuttgart on January 15th. In 1995, the state capital was a pioneer of Vesperkirchen with the Leonhardskirche, of which there are now around 40 nationwide.

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