Karma Meals: Guide to Getting Started
Karma Meals is an experiment to connect with friends on the streets, over a simple meal. What originally started with giving a meal to the homeless turned into sharing a meal with a friend we didn't know and ultimately just holding an open heart for cultivating deeper connection with ourselves and those around us.
To start Karma Meals in your community just requires a small group of volunteers, a kitchen at a volunteer's house, and a recipe to cook a wholesome meal. If you'd like to get started, below is a helpful guide.
1. Understand the Concept
Karma Meals is not a philanthropic activity where one just 'feeds' people on the street but it's like taking our time out to cook and have dinner with friends. Like we meet our family and known people over the dinner, sometimes just to chit-chat, with Karma meals we are meeting strangers over a meal just to have casual and light hearted discussions. We hope that with each meal we make deeper connections with people around us, we are convinced that a homeless person would not always need money or food but sometimes all the person might look for is someone to listen to their stories, a friendly smile, a lovely hug. Karma meals is a humble experiment to do just that. Take a look at this video:
2. Form a Local Team
To get going, it helps to identify all the tasks and nuances in running Karma Meals. Take a look and get local support of about 3-5 volunteers who are willing to contribute 3-4 hours in a week.
3. Get Familiar with the Process
It is also important to understand that the Karma meals is also an experiment to bring transformation within us as volunteers. To tap into our own stories and 'aha moments' we have a loose structure of the process that one might follow.
The process consists of 4 Circles: Opening Circle, Activity Circle, Connection Circle, Reflection Circle
Opening Circle (Opens with 10 mins of silence and closes with 2 minutes of silence): The circle will be open for all the volunteers by sharing a story that has moved you and holding a question for reflection. For instance, we had once shared this video and we held a question 'What does serving with what you have mean to you?'
Activity circle (Opens and closes with 2 minutes of silence): You form teams to cut-chop and cook a meal in this circle. Once the meal is ready, you close the circle by praying for 2 minutes before moving out on the streets.
Connection Circle: You look for a small community of people around and ask their permission to share the meal with them. Once, you find a community of people who are willing to share their time and eat the meal, you serve them and sit with them. You can have light conversations or circle of sharing with all over the meal
Reflection Circle (Opens and closes with 2 minutes of silence): Volunteers in this circle share their reflection for the day, how they felt, what were their 'aha moments'
4. Contact Us
Once you have the above pieces in motion, drop us a note and we'll assign you a "buddy" to help you navigate through the nuances, ensure that you are representing the Karma Meals name in way that is consistent with the other locations and share best-practices and documents/graphics to facilitate the logistics of a potential launch.
Please get in touch with us anytime.
Thank you for your interest in being partners in service!