Restaurant owners in Krakow show their Christmas spirit, as they serve thousands of portions of traditional Polish dumplings, red borsch and mushroom soup to the homeless.
KRAKOW, POLAND (DECEMBER 22, 2013) (REUTERS) - Hundreds of poor and homeless people from all over Poland came to theOld Square in Krakow for a Christmas Eve feast on Sunday (December 22) which was organised by restaurant owners of the city.
Restaurant owners and volunteers prepared over 50,000 portions for people, mostly 'Pierogi' or better known outside of Poland as Polish dumplings and hundreds litres of traditional mushroom and red borsch soup as well as uncounted litres of tea.
The recipients were very grateful, but also a bit sad of their circumstances, the fact that they had to accept hand-outs. "I feel sad, because I should not be here. I should be able to afford it," said Celina Trojan with tears in her eyes.
Stanislaw Marchewka has been living in Krakow since his birth. He comes here every year. "There is such a need by the people," he said pointing at the queues. "Whoever organizes it - God bless him for caring about the poor people, you know? Because I see children here and the elderly in wheelchairs and all of them alone. And so a man feels like surrounded by a family, the family of the Krakow's childhood,"
For him and others thousands parcels with food and sweets were prepared.
The restaurant owner Jan Kosciuszko is the organiser of this Christmas party for the poor and homeless. He says that, as far as he can see, there are more and more people in need and as a good Christian he cannot let them down.
"This day is the day for these people," he said. But there is also an alternative intention behind this, not just the plain meal for the needy. "We want them to know that someone is thinking about them," Kosciuszko told Reuters. "This is not a PR campaign, where you take 20 or 30 people and do a photo session that says "I took a photo with the poor on Christmas Eve". No, you have to share with them what you have got."
Polish tradition dictates an extra place at the Christmas table for a weary stranger who happens to pass by, reminding of Joseph trying to find a place for Mary to give birth.