Korea Legacy Committee opens first kitchen to continue feeding elderly
A group of youths in their 20s and 30s came together to open a soup kitchen for elderly citizens Bogwang-dong in central Seoul’s Yongsan District.
The Korea Legacy Committee (KLC) opened Legacy Kitchen on Sunday. The soup kitchen cooks meals for breakfast and lunch. Young volunteers then deliver them to locations such as Yeongdeungpo District and Tapgol Park in central Seoul’s Jongno District where elderly citizens, many of them who are homeless, are known to congregate. As of now, two meals will be distributed twice a week but the team hopes to increase the frequency and number of meals over time.
The KLC has been distributing free meals to the elderly for the past seven years, but the Bowgang-dong location is its first brick-and-mortar kitchen. Park Mak-rye, the popular 75-year-old YouTuber known as "Korea Grandma" also attended Sunday’s opening event and demonstrated how to make kimchi.
“Korea has the highest rate of elderly poverty according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD],” said Mike Kim, the founder of the KLC and chairman of the board. “During the two-month construction, people in this town passing by would not believe us when we explained what we planned to do here. They couldn’t believe that young people could do something so magical. But after doing this for seven years, I know we should never underestimate the power of young people in Korea.”
The organization consists of volunteers in their 20s and 30s, including approximately 200 college students from the KLC’s 17 university branches. The KLC also opened a Busan branch in April and hopes to open another Legacy Kitchen location in the city.
“We [volunteers who are not in college] all have full-time jobs,” said board member Shin Ye-sun. “Everyone spends their leisure time differently, and volunteering is how we recharge our energy.”
Kim Ho-yoon, a 38-year-old chef, runs his own restaurant and volunteers his free time to plan nutritionally balanced meals — paying special attention to what elderly people can eat and digest comfortably.
“Volunteering is not too common or sought after in Korea,” said An Ye-rim, a 23-year-old volunteer currently attending Seoul National University. “So I was interested to see the KLC’s activities on Instagram. This is not a one-time event but a consistent project, which motivates me to participate with zeal.”
To donate or find out more about the KLC, visit korealegacy.com, or korealegacy on Instagram.
BY HALEY YANG [email@example.com]