Can you imaging having no home and no food?

These are realities for many people living homeless across Eastern Europe during the freezing winter. You can make a difference today and help them survive.

In Sofia, Bulgaria's capital city, there are thousands of homeless people - and when temperatures turn icy in the winter, living on the streets becomes unbearable.

Our Street Mercy appeal is upon us and in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, there are thousands of homeless people – and when temperatures turn icy in the Winter, being homeless becomes unbearable. With few safety nets in place, it is too easy to find lives turned upside down after a relationship breakdown, rental fraud, or eviction – and not enough state provision to provide shelter and a way out.

Stefka and her family once lived in a warm apartment in Sofia with a bathroom and big living room. She loved cooking and her husband had a job in construction. But they became abruptly homeless when her stepdaughter threw them out. 

She, Todor and their two children now take shelter in an abandoned café. Conditions are insanitary and there is no running water. To wash their dishes and clothes, the family have to travel 20 kilometers by public transport to Sofia, where they fill their plastic bottles from a warm mineral spring.

“I want my children to feel like other children – to have a room of their own, to simply be able to come home from school and have a shower,” Stefka said.


Without any running water or facilities, it is difficult for the family to keep clean, which is a problem when looking for work. And as Pamela and Kristian’s clothes are shabby and dirty, they are often mocked by their classmates. 

Mission Without Borders (MWB) supports homeless people in Sofia through its Street Mercy project. As well as giving out warm soup and bread every weekday, we also give out warm clothes and blankets to support people through the cold winter. We do anything else we can: helping people access hospital treatment for frostbite, providing them with face masks, supporting others to obtain the ID documents they need.

When Pamela, 12, and her brother were given sturdy winter shoes by MWB, she was delighted. She said, “The shoes are so nice, and they’re warm and comfortable. Now all my classmates will see that I have good shoes and won’t make fun of me.”

“Street Mercy means a lot to us,” Stefka said. “Sometimes the food we receive from Street Mercy is the only food we have that day. And it’s not just food – we’ve also received shoes and clothes, blankets, and backpacks and school supplies for the children. But most valuable of all is the friendship we’ve been given - the care, love and hope that brings us closer to God.”

Stefka again becomes tearful when she recalls their previous life before they became homeless. Their apartment was warm, with a bathroom and a large living room where the family spent their evenings. Todor worked in the construction business, while Stefka was a wonderful stay at home mother who enjoyed preparing delicious meals for her husband and children. The whole family was happy and lacked nothing. Now, neither parent has a job. Todor finds jobs here and there, but often employers refuse to pay him. Stefka is thin and looks exhausted. Without any running water or facilities, it is difficult for the family to keep clean, which is a problem when looking for work. Both adults gather scrap metal or plastic bottles for recycling and the children help them. 

Kristian, being the smallest, often goes through rubbish bins in search of “treasures” that might raise a few pennies. 

“Life on the street is very difficult,” Todor said. “If it were only Stefka and I, it wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but it’s very hard to live on the streets when you have children to look after.” 

There is little state provision for the thousands of homeless people in Sofia and thanks to gaps in the law and hardly any legal protection for tenants, it is frighteningly easy to find yourself on the streets after a relationship breakdown, rental fraud, or eviction. Winter is dangerously cold in Sofia, and homeless people frequently suffer frostbite, sometimes resulting in amputations or even death. 

Since Street Mercy started up in 2012, MWB’s two partnering churches have worked closely with us, as well as volunteers from the Club for the Disabled. For Stefka and her family, Street Mercy has made all the difference – and is all the support they have. 

Will you join me in supporting the homeless with a hot meal and the love of God in a practical way this European winter? Thank you!


40,315 meals provided to homeless people. People come not only for the hot soup and bread, but for friendship and to see people who show concern, compassion and care.....they come for acceptance!

Report by MWB Annual Review 2021


Please help the homeless survive!


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