Un Domingo Solidario, fighting against hunger in Madrid

The streets of Madrid hide a concealed reality. There are homeless people and families without resources who urgently need food. Un Domingo Solidario tries to find a solution to this heartbreaking situation.

At Maria Pascual, more than a year ago we started supporting charities and initiatives with whom we empathize, as they share our values and philosophy. That’s why we launched MPFights: to give back to the world the immense gratitude we feel every day.

Last Sunday, on November 7th, part of the team traveled to Madrid to take part in Un Domingo Solidario. There are things you sometimes need to experience first hand. It was an incredible day full of sensations (we still feel an emotional hangover!). But this doesn’t happen overnight and we want to share our thoughts on what led us to collaborate with Un Domingo Solidario.

Image courtesy of Carlos Soler in Un Domingo Solidario.

Un Domingo Solidario, a soup kitchen initiative

The story w’e’re going to present unfolds in Madrid, in the middle of the Filomena storm, which hit Spain on the winter of 2021. It was especially hard for people living on the streets: they had no roof over their heads, no warm food, and not enough blankets to get through the snowfall. Carlos Soler, a Granada-born man, saw this crude reality every day and couldn’t just sit idly by. He had to act.

Carlos, with his meager resources, began to cook outdoors, on the streets of Madrid, so that he could help all those who most needed him. Word began to spread: there was a man feeding home-cooked meals, warm and tasty. The queues grew as the days went by, and so did the demand. Such was the echo that he even appeared in the media, where Carlos stated that he didn’t have the resources or enough manpower to help as much as he wanted to.

Moreover, Un Domingo Solidario’s soup kitchen is currently the only one where any person or family can go, regardless of their situation. In Spain, in order to receive food from soup kitchens, they ask for a certificate signed by a notary public stating that they indeed are in need of daily meals. Many people cannot afford this document, so they’re left without the opportunity to receive the food or resources they simply can’t pay for.

Image courtesy of Carlos Soler in Un Domingo Solidario.

A few months later, an association contacted him to offer him their soup kitchen. Here, Carlos could cook every Sunday, the day when all other soup kitchens were closed. A closed Sunday is a day when people without resources are denied a nutritious and much-needed meal.

Since then, Carlos and the volunteers have been offering food and other resources to all the people that visit religiously on Sundays. And, from then on, Un Domingo Solidario is at the foot of the cannon every Sunday, no exceptions.

It all started with coffee

We met Carlos on Instagram and closely followed his efforts in the streets of Madrid during the Filomena storm. We were astonished: he was cooking with his own utensils, with food he had bought with money from his own pocket and exposing himself to the cold of the capital, all at the same time!

What fascinated us was that Carlos did it all with so little help, simply because of his willingness to assist others without expecting anything in return. He organized everything in his spare time, but right now it has become a vital part of his life and he gives his all to get the project off the ground. We admire that such a young person is making this sort of endeavor. He saw a problem and, instead of looking the other way, he felt the imperative need to help them.

At Maria Pascual, we had long wanted to collaborate with a soup kitchen. But, having learned about Carlos’ case, instead of opting for a large organization with more resources, we decided to partner with a younger initiative that needed our financial support and a platform of visibility to give them voice.

Image courtesy of Carlos Soler in Un Domingo Solidario.

A couple of months ago we met in person in Madrid, in a very mundane get-together at a café. He told us in detail what Un Domingo Solidario was all about, its objective, its needs. It was then that we realized that we shared the same values, philosophy and vision. From the very first minute, we knew that we wanted to help in any way we could. Therefore, we decided to offer our support by creating the MPFights Domingo Solidario, a 12€ bracelet to raise funds whose full benefits would go to Carlos’ initiative.

We spent a week informing and raising awareness on social networks among our followers about the initiative to encourage them to donate and, in this way, reach our fundraising goal. We were also joined by influencers who offered their platform to give visibility to the bracelets. We were thrilled with the amount of support we received from you, we couldn’t ask for a more engaged community!

A day assisting in Madrid

It didn’t stop there. The weekend came and…. We traveled to Madrid to live the whole experience! We needed to go beyond the screen, to see how a Domingo Solidario unfolded beyond what we saw on their social media profile. And, after taking a Barcelona – Madrid train, we arrived with a great desire to help!

Sunday’s experience was something we won’t forget for a long time. We thought that the space would be a large soup kitchen, with all the necessary resources to meet everyone’s needs. The reality was very different: there’s volunteers who come every week, but still there isn’t enough manpower or food. The latter has to be rationed and used wisely so that no one goes without their plate of warm food.

We met some wonderful volunteers who help out every Sunday, in an effort to take care of their community and connect with the reality of the streets. In addition, we were joined by some influencers from Madrid who helped give visibility to the initiative, cooking and distributing food throughout the morning.

We all contributed to make the experience go smoothly: cleaning, cooking, handing out bags to those who came for their food… We were in tune, united by the same cause. Sharing that and feeling that we were moved by the same energy was incredible and very special.

The team participating in Un Domingo Solidario, November 7th 2021.

Everyone had a role to play and we fulfilled it to the letter. We were surprised that, when Un Domingo Solidario ends, around 2 pm, Carlos prepares bags of food for all those families or people who have no resources and can’t go to the soup kitchen. With a neighbor’s car, Carlos delivers these bags after closing time. It’s, without a doubt, a constant work that lasts throughout the week.

This is just the beginning

Despite everyone’s support and involvement, Un Domingo Solidario needs a bigger place, more volunteers, more financial resources.

We’ve certified that they need all the help they can get, that the money you’ve helped us raise is going to the right hands and that wonders will be done to help the neediest people in Madrid. Buy them blankets, medicines, warm clothes for the winter. Get toys for the children who weren’t going to get a present this Christmas. Cooking hot meals so that, at least once a week, they have the dignified food they deserve.

We’re very happy to give the raised money with the bracelets to Carlos. We’re sure that it’ll do wonders and it’ll all go to improve the lives of these people, even if it’s just a little bit. As Carlos would say: “today for me, tomorrow for you”.

We wish to be more than a jewelry brand, like many others. While we can, in Maria Pascual we’ll do everything possible to show our support to initiatives that need our help. We hope you continue to collaborate with us, because your help is important and essential to fully assist those causes that need it.

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