Crocus Fashion Retail
On 22 October 2019, Dobrodomik Café where senior citizens can eat free hot meals on weekdays was officially launched in Moscow. Moscow's Dobrodomik was initiated by businessman and musician Emin Agalarov and the project's founders Alexandra Sinyak and Yevgeny Gershevich. They welcomed the first visitors in person.
'When people get old, they often find themselves unwanted, rejected and forgotten. Some are just left alone—due to various circumstances. Hence this strong desire to make their life better because back in their days they did so much for us', said Emin Agalarov.
'The café doesn't just serve free meals, it also provides targeted aid. People come here with their problems—and we go live on social media and ask for help. We need volunteers at the moment. Young people, who are willing to work as waiters in the café and help the elderly out of gratitude towards the older generation', explained Alexandra Sinyak.
Dobrodomik is open all day long for each and every visitor. Although non-profit, a project of this type allows earning money to provide senior citizens with free meals. Anyone paying for their meal at the café automatically becomes a participant of the charity project. The more you come to Dobrodomik, the faster it grows, therefore the more people in need it will be able to help.
How are the meals provided?
The café is located at 12 Tushinskaya Ul., within a 10-minute walk from the metro station. Here, anyone can eat a free meal with their pensioner ID card from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. As the menu changes from day to day, different portions are served every day. However, every meal will unfailingly include the following: a salad, soup, a main dish and a drink. Elaborated to meet the demands of the elderly, the menu consists of simple and nutritious dishes a Soviet citizen would be familiar with. For instance, Mimosa salad, meat Solyanka (meat soup), Beef Stroganoff with potato puree and dried fruit compote.
Dobrodomik is open for visitors of all ages all day long. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., hot syrniki (quark pancakes) are served for breakfast with a cup of delicious coffee while sweet pancakes are available for take-away. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., you can have a substantial meal and buy some fresh bread. Prices at this café are very moderate and will even suit students.
Located at 12 Tushinskaya Ul., Dobrodomik can seat 69 people at a time or several hundred every day. Everything in this café is designed with the elderly and visitors with disabilities in mind, including wheelchair ramps, specially equipped toilets, wide walkways and table arrangements taking into consideration their needs.
The project belongs to Restaurants by Crocus Group.
How did the Dobrodomik project begin?
Having celebrated its second birthday in November 2019, Dobrodomik is well-known among citizens of Saint Petersburg. In 2017, entrepreneurs Alexandra Sinyak and Yevgeny Gershevich started offering free meals to pensioners at their Cheshsky Domik (Czech House) café. The elderly then started coming every day, eagerly accepting the invitation. In October 2018, the couple first opened Dobrodomik Café on Vasilyevsky Island in Saint Petersburg and later—an eponymous charity foundation. Every weekday, more than 300 pensioners come to eat their free meal at the café.
Why is it important?
A great number of Russian seniors live on the poverty line. Many cannot afford a full meal that consists of a starter and a meat main dish. Some have no money to buy food while others have some kind of disability. All these people can eat at Dobrodomik Café on weekdays—all they need is to come here with their pensioner ID card. As well as the chance to eat a full meal, going to Dobrodomik is an opportunity to socialise with others. The elderly often feel lost and lonely, in need of someone to speak to. At Dobrodomik, senior citizens can enjoy the cosy and friendly atmosphere where they can eat and interact with others, in a respectful and appreciative environment.