Balkans: Produce for Serbia Soup Kitchen

June 19, 2022

New greenhouses in Serbia are part of an IOCC project to help the Church-run soup kitchen in Belgrade grow its own produce, reduce costs, and rely less on donations.

IOCC’s work in the Balkans has been ongoing since the 1990s, with the Belgrade office opening in 1992 at the invitation of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Through strong partnerships, IOCC is helping the Church serve even more people in need.

Working with the Church humanitarian arm Faith Charity Stewardship in Serbia, IOCC is helping expand a soup kitchen in Belgrade that serves about 2,000 hot meals to people in need every weekday (up from 800 daily meals in 2014, when the ministry first began).

In 2020, IOCC began an agriculture development program with Faith Charity Stewardship, working toward transforming its social program into a self-sustaining initiative. So far, the program has supported intensive vegetable production in four new greenhouses, which IOCC built on Church land at the Bukovo monastery in east Serbia. IOCC is now building the concrete base for a custom 600 square-foot facility where harvests can be stored before they’re taken to the kitchen in Belgrade to become meals.

Through this program, IOCC is helping the Church expand its food ministry and reduce its dependence on donations to keep the soup kitchen running. Ultimately, this means together we can serve more people in need.