Author: Aniek Moonen

Every day of the week, all year round, the Kessler Stichting parks its Soup Bus at one of two known locations in The Hague (Central Station and Torenstraat) to provide warm evening meals for the homeless. The Kessler Stichting, founded to assist the vulnerable populations of The Hague, has committed itself to making sure no-one who already lost their home must also lose their food security (Kessler Stichting 2019). The Soup Bus initiative not only allows the homeless in The Hague to enjoy one warm meal per day, it also fosters community building among its visitors. 

The Soup Bus is visited by over a 100 people per day, amounting to approximately 18 thousand people a year (Kessler Stichting 2019). Besides offering meals, the Soup Bus employees keep an eye out for people who are really suffering. They can help people in grave need by providing emergency sleeping places, or handing out blankets, shoes or other clothing items (Werff 2017). The initiative, which is mainly funded by voluntary donations, plays a huge role in the lives of the homeless in The Hague.

Little is known about the food security of the homeless in the Netherlands specifically, but food insecurity is generally a large problem among homeless populations. In the United States, research has shown that over two thirds of homeless people are suffering from food insecurity (Gundersen et. al. 2003).  In the Netherlands, the homeless are particularly shy of warm meals. Care providers throughout the country tend to offer small snacks and sandwiches, but a homeless person can only get these if they are able to visit these providers (Leger des Heils 2019). By being a mobile food provider, the Soup Bus tries to reach those that tend to refrain from visiting official care providers with both cold and warm meals. 

Food insecurity is a prominent problem in the homeless community with great impacts on someone’s ability to break from the poverty cycle. Hunger is seen as one of the main reasons why some homeless people may refrain from finding a job or looking for help (Van der Does 2019). Food security is incredibly important for the homeless, a lack of this security can lead to social exclusion (Wood 2004). Social exclusion in turn prevents a homeless person from seeking help at care providers and may therefore aggravate hunger (Pleace 1998). The Soup Bus tackles food insecurity in the short-term and the long-term by building meaningful communities that prevent the social exclusion of homeless people.


Gundersen, C., Weinreb, L., Wehler, C., & Hosmer, D. (2003). “Homelessness and Food Insecurity.” Journal of Housing Economics 12(3): 250–272. 

Kessler Stichting (2019). “De Soepbus.” Kessler Stichting. At

Leger des Heils (2019). “Eten & Drinken.” Leger des Heils. At

Pleace, N. (1998). “Single Homelessness as Social Exclusion: The Unique and the Extreme.” Social Policy & Administration 32(1): 46–59. 

Weinreb, L., Wehler, C., Perloff, J., Scott, R., Hosmer, D., Sagor, L., & Gundersen, C. (2002). “Hunger: Its Impact on Children’s Health and Mental Health.” Pediatrics 110(4): e41–e41. 

Werff, N. van der (2017). “De Soepbus: Warmte op de bodem van de put.” At

Wood, B. (2004). “Narrowing the Gap: An Integrated Approach to Improving Food Security for Vulnerable and Homeless People.” Parity 17(3): 4.

A Meal on Wheels: How Does the Kessler Soup Bus Feed the Homeless and Build Community?

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