Free food and more in Utrecht: local initiatives to support those in need

man holding card with seeking human kindness text
Man holding card with seeking human kindness text. Photo by Matt Collamer.

Last updated 2 months ago by Michael Darmanin

During Corona, but also before and after, Utrecht has a lot of places where you can go when you are in need of food, furniture or clothes. There are also a lot of places to find some company to have a conversation. Volunteers are preparing food that otherwise would be wasted, other volunteers are just cooking because they care. The give-away-shop, also known in Utrecht as the “Weggeefwinkel”, even has a fridge where you can put stuff in or take out what you need. They call it the “solidarity fridge”. After opening hours, they make a meal of the leftovers for those who are in need. Here we show you some more nice local initiatives!

Hungry in Utrecht?

It is almost impossible to be hungry, even though you have no money. There are free meals for those who are in need, like refugees that fall under the Dublin regulation who receive nor shelter nor other support, but also for people living on minimum income or who have other issues that make access to a regular meal difficult. In the city of Utrecht, so much is possible due to a nice mix of friendly locals, students and expats.

Refugees only meals

Donations and volunteers make it possible to maintain some shelters where people can rest, have a meal, a friendly talk and play.

Villa Vrede: Open every day, except for Monday. Free meal around 13:00.
Address: Wijnesteinlaan 4, Utrecht.

ACU: Every day after 18:00; vegan/halal food to take away.
Address: Voorstraat 71, Utrecht.

Meals for free or with discount for everybody in Utrecht

Toogoodtogo (app): Originally an initiative against the wasting of food, it is now a rather professional looking app to get delicious food from supermarkets, bakeries, vegan shops and even restaurants. Very helpful if your budget is low. You can register and enter your preferences, like vegan, halal or whatsoever. Every day the app will show which store/restaurant is available and what offers they have. Normally, you pay around €5 for groceries such as dairy and meat worth €15, or a 3 star breakfast from a hotel or meal from a restaurant.

Waste warriors in Utrecht

The food would otherwise be wasted, because of legal restrictions: shops are required by law to dispose of items that expire the same or the following day. Sometimes you get so much, you need to have a freezer. Of course you can share with your neighbours as well to optimize this really social deal.

Eating with locals

“Buurthuizen” are meeting places for those living in the neighbourhood. To get acquainted, these organizations create a lot of events where people can come together and enjoy a meal at really low prices. Sometimes even for free!

Buurtbuik Utrecht: An initiative, originated in Amsterdam, but spreading all over the country. Volunteers serve a free meal on Saturday at 12.30 and 14.00, made from food that is gathered from shops and restaurants. Good food, but when not used by Buurtbuik, it would be wasted. Food is also delivered on Tuesday and Thursday. You have to apply for it by internet or by writing your name on the list at the Buurthuis de Boog, 3564 ES Utrecht. Closed from 8 till the 29th of August because of holidays.

Weggeefwinkel (give away shop) Utrecht and Solidariteitskoelkast (solidarity fridge)

In this shop you can’t buy a thing. You can only take what you need, or bring something you don’t. This can be clothes, furniture, toys and food. During the current epidemic, this shop is only open on Wednesday and Saturday. On Saturdays a meal is served after openings hours (17.00 pm). You can also take a look inside the “solidariteitskoelkast” if you need some food or have something to give away.

Utrecht = most social place?

Maybe there is no city as social as Utrecht. Because of the really nice mix of locals, Utrecht is a very social, but exciting and inspiring place. If your organisation is missing in the overview above, please let us know!

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About the Author

Linda Sibeijn

Linda Sibeijn

Linda Sibeijn is a native Dutch Woman, writer since 2010. Mostly for SEO purposes but likes to write about anything interesting. She studied Geography and Environmental sciences. Loves nature, sports and healthy living and likes to contribute to a better world by clear- non violent communication.

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