The Philoxenia Mobile Kitchen Project was formed by individual independent volunteers who were in Lesbos in 2015, to tackle immediate needs of people who were continuously arriving on the shores. Distribution of dry clothes, warm tea and soup, arranging transport to a safe area within the island were some of the daily activities. The necessity of immediate action on different locations on the island gave birth to the idea of having a mobile kitchen, which was made possible by independent fundraisers and individual donations within the first couple of weeks.
After a couple of months of warm soup and tea delivery on Lesbos, the changing EU border policies and augmented border patrols forced the mobile kitchen to move to Turkey in Spring 2016, where thousands of people were stranded in unofficial refugee camps. There, we coordinated food distribution and organized local kitchens in the Selcuk prefecture. After being "invited to leave the country" by Turkish law enforcement, Philoxenia continued its activities for a couple of months in the streets of Belgrade, where hundreds were waiting to find a way into Europe without any possibility to cook for themselves.
After the closing of Idomeni, the largest informal camp in Greece, not all of the refugees were collocated in new camps, therefore many of them were forced to find shelter on the streets. In this scenario, we established in the summer of 2016 a permanent kitchen along with other individuals who were active in the Macedonian border. Initially built in collaboration with the group Dirty bunch!, the kitchen started with basic chopping and cooking and pursued the goal to provide warm meals every day in Thessaloniki to refugees and homeless people on the streets, camps and anyone else in need. Since then we never closed down. Til February 2019 the distribution happened directly on the streets of the city, while afterwords we opened the first indoor facility called "La Porta", closed in June 2019 and reopened a month later under the name of "Filía" Center (from the greek, "Friendship"). We choose this name because no one should feel alone.