Nikolai has a broken leg but can’t afford treatment. At the age of 60 he is job-less and homeless. Every day he comes to a park near the railway station in Sofia for a cup of soup and some bread. But today is different and exciting: a local bakery called Bella has donated some ‘banitsa’, a type breakfast snack, and some delicious chocolate bars.
The Bulgarian State does nothing for the homeless, and has even hindered provision of food by restricting the food delivery van’s parking space. They don’t want to ‘encourage the problem’, and seem to hope it will just go away. Working in pairs, volunteers from Sofia Baptist Church deliver lunch six days a week. About 30 volunteers are on the rota, some coming from work in their lunch-hour.
A list has been built up of genuine homeless folk, who receive food first, then others, up to a limit of fifty; not many when there are several thousand homeless in the city, but the new Social, Medical & Training Centre will feed about seventy more.