In 2018, Bopha UI (she/her) wanted to bring homemade meals to individuals living in Oakland, California and experiencing houselessness. What started every Wednesday night from her kitchen became, Rogers and Rosewater soup kitchen, named after Mr. Rogers and character Eliot Rosewater from Kurt Vonnegut’s book “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater”.
Wanting to amplify the work being done to feed community members, Bopha connected with Repair the World Bay Area and began welcoming in Service Corps members and volunteers to help increase the reach and impact of Rogers and Rosewater.
Through our partnership with Repair, I learned to be more open and receptive to have other people join us, Bopha said.
“We’re small, and not a lot of people know about us, so it’s nice to have a connection to another organization with a network of people who want to serve.”
Each week, Rogers and Rosewater distributes over 300 prepared meals containing a main course, a snack, a juice and a bottle of water. They also provide hygiene kits and weather protection to anyone who needs it. Rogers and Rosewater along with corps members take the food and supplies directly to people in the streets of Oakland. “We’re preparing and delivering so many meals in such a short time, so things can be hectic,” said Bopha. “But the Repair corps members put in a lot of work to ensure that we’re getting our meal kits built and packaged in an efficient way and we really appreciate it.”
Bopha says that she was actually hesitant about the partnership at first. “I didn’t know what the experience of working with a group of volunteers in this way would be like and honestly, I had never worked with a religious organization before. But, I soon saw that the Jewish values that guide the corps members service is part of what makes the experience special for them.”
Partnering with Repair, Rogers and Rosewater continues their dedicated work because “the world we live in can be harsh and cruel to people – especially those who are experiencing houselessness,” Bopha concludes. “And we just want to add kindness to the world – one meal at a time.”
Bopha is the Founder of Rogers and Rosewater which brings hot homemade meals to those facing homelessness and hunger in the streets of Oakland every week.
Rogers and Rosewater is one of several Repair the World Bay Area nonprofit service partners where volunteers and corps members show up alongside partners to build their capacity and support them in fulfilling their missions.