La Amistad food kitchen in Lurín feeds around fifty families living in extreme poverty. The menu is varied, creative, and above all, nutritious, giving the lie to the idea that affordable food can’t be good. The hands of Lola and her companions work wonders. Lola Lescano was afraid to take on the responsibility of being the president of La Amistad food kitchen in the southern district of Lurín. But she took the leap and now, eight years later, she says it has been one of the best experiences in her life because it has taught her humility, humanity, and solidarity.
Food kitchens in Peru are an act of resistance against extreme poverty. And this perfectly describes La Amistad, an establishment that feeds around fifty vulnerable families in this part of town. Taking charge of a food kitchen requires a great deal of creativity and discipline, qualities that Lola, now 58, has possessed since a very young age.
“In spite of it all, the menu is always varied. You can’t go without cau cau, or mondonguito a la italiana, tallarín con chanfainita or carapulcra,” says this mother of two, grandmother of four, and now, great grandmother of one. The menu costs members 3.50 soles, or about a dollar. This modest sum helps them continue with their work.
She says one of the best things about her job has been meeting Chef Palmiro Ocampo. Through his work with the NGO “Ccori Cocina Óptima,” Chef Ocampo taught them how to make more creative dishes. “You never stop learning. That’s the great thing. Palmiro helped us a lot with his ideas, and I’m very grateful for that,” she says.
Since the pandemic started, the food kitchen’s doors have remained closed. They decided to offer delivery in an effort to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Nothing could put a stop to the task of feeding families, and Lola believes that’s just the way it should be. Being in charge of a food kitchen has taught her to understand all sorts of people and to wage hard battles. “When you do things with love, the best reward is a ‘thank you.’ That’s all you need.”