Copenhagen’s magnificent street paper for the homeless Hus forbi told about a cafÃ© project I liked very much. (I was touched enough to send them an encouraging post-card.)
The Danish project CafÃ© MÃ¦lkevejen in Odense is a cafÃ© with the slogan “when life’s in pieces”. An alcohol-free environment with things to do for people who are down and out.
Heroine Gurli Jomsdal (72) has volunteered for nine consecutive years as sandwich maker for the project. About her work she says: “It’s like having something to get up for, a kind of responsibility.” Gurli met project organizer Niels-Peter Skovsgaard at a bus stop one day, and when he told her about the cafÃ© she thought: “I am most definitely not going there, that’s just for junkies and such.” But, she lived in the area, and the offer was still standing, and one day she walked over.
The house is run on a many-hands, simple tasks basis: the users themselves take on small responsibilities, like getting things for the kitchen, or placing flowers on all tables. This eases the cook’s job, and spreads responsibility. Frits Knoth (75) makes sure the cafÃ© always has potatoes in stock.
The activities in the house range from games and creative things to printing and delivering a local paper to the area.
There is a fund-raiser group called “Friends of CafÃ© MÃ¦lkevejen” which works with raising funds for travel, tours and special events.