Is the 35 year old ‘Babfor’ soup kitchen closed? “If you can’t pay 200 million, you have to demolish it”

◀ Anchor ▶

‘Babfor’, which has provided free meals to the disadvantaged for 35 years, is in a situation where it may have to stop offering free meals.

This is because the district office has informed that if the building is not demolished by today, it will impose a compulsory payment of almost 300 million won tomorrow.

Reporter Kim Jung-woo covered the story.

◀ Report ▶

Elderly people in thick coats stand in a line in front of the soup kitchen, curled up in the cold.

There is no seating in the cafeteria before serving.

It’s 5 minutes before serving.

The cafeteria was full of people waiting to receive free meals.

Around 700 elderly people came early in the morning to have a meal.


“Can’t you give me more burnt rice? I have to eat both. I came early in the morning. They came out at 6.”

Babfor has been providing free meals for 35 years since 1988.

However, on the 16th, the Dongdaemun-gu Office informed Babfor that they would impose a mandatory performance fee of 280 million won if all buildings were demolished and not rebuilt.

The reason was that the building built in June last year to increase the capacity was an illegal extension.

However, Babfor had reached an agreement with the city in January on the content of ‘giving the extended building to Seoul City’.

[최일도/’밥퍼’ 이사장]

“After getting permission, the district office said, ‘When are you going to tear this down and build a new one?’

Seoul City’s explanation is the same.

However, the ward office is still stubborn, saying that there were over a thousand complaints in the form of ‘removal of obnoxious facilities’ before the completion of large-scale flats in the vicinity.

[동대문구청 관계자]

“The residents who suffered the sacrifice oppose it to this extent, but should I continue to go? The fact that our children go to school there itself is…”

Lunch boxes are provided to users belonging to Dongdaemun-gu instead, and users from other regions are not the responsibility of the district.

[동대문구청 관계자]

“Standing in line to be fed meals, these days, social welfare work is not social welfare work like that….”

It is said that not only Babfor, which was driven into the crisis of suspension of meal service, but also the city of Seoul sent an objection to the Dongdaemun-gu Office.

This is Kim Jeong-woo from MBC News.

Video commentary: Lee Ji-ho / Video editing: Min Kyung-tae

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