Restaurants can often feel exclusive to those that can afford it, but one restaurant in Spain is looking to change the way food is served to everyone- even those that are struggling to find a place to sleep every night.
Four restaurants in Spain are called Robin Hood, and while they do not take money from the rich to give to the poor, they do use the revenues from their daytime service to serve food for those that cannot afford it for their evening service.
Created by Rev. Ángel García Rodríguez, 79, who is described as equal parts clergyman and “nonprofit entrepreneur,” that has had long experience in finding unconventional ways to help those who need it most. Other work his hands are dipped into include being the president of Messengers of Peace, a non-profit organization that provides a home to “older people, orphanages, centers for drug addicts and other social services,” and last year, he also converted an abandoned church, San Antón, into a community center that provides shelter, mass, confession, and free internet, food, and even medical help!
Robin Hood is his latest venture. He explains that on top of receiving free food, the restaurant atmosphere brings a sense of dignity to the people coming to their restaurant for an evening meal.
“To get served by a waiter wearing a nice uniform and to eat with proper cutlery, rather than a plastic fork, is what gives you back some dignity,” he tells NY Times.
Father Angel has big plans for his restaurant model. He already is in talks to expand the Robin Hood restaurant to Miami, and is looking to bring celebrity chefs in for special nights when possible.
His restaurant, along with other ventures, has helped so many during Spain’s economic turmoil. One restaurant goer, Giani Parlafes, a 41-year-old Romanian living in Spain, notes he hasn’t been able to sit in a restaurant since he lost his job four years ago.
“It’s just hard to believe I get to sit and eat here without paying any money whatsoever,” he notes. “You reach a point when something like this just makes you feel incredible.”
The Father has also shown his beautiful nature by being tolerant of gay couples that come to him for help, as well as baptizing those that can’t commit to coming to his church every weekend. One mother with a daughter that suffers from a kidney condition and can’t make it to Church on Sundays due to being constantly hospitalized, was turned away from all other churches except for Father Angel’s location.
“I heard about this great person who puts no limitation on who can be helped, whether it is somebody without a home, or a mother like me who can’t have a normal christening for her child,” García explains. “I discovered a priest who did not just preach love and help but put his words into action.”
Father Angel and all of his work that he is doing, in particular Robin Hood, prove that there can be a balance between creating a successful business with helping those in the world that need it more than ever. With a dedication to helping others always in his mind, and with a dash of creativity, he is showing everyone that regardless of background, we should all choose to help each other in every way we can!
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[Source: New York Times]