Merge on K Road is not your typical designer-hipster café, but out of all our eat outs, this has been the most memorable. Starting as a soup kitchen, not-for-profit trust Lifewise decided to provide something more than a bandaid solution for the homeless in Auckland. With meals starting at $4 (their breakfasts at $1), those who are struggling with expenses can get a (very) substantial hot meal, unlimited tea/coffee and friendly staff who are more than willing to offer a good chat or helping hand. We found a sunny courtyard with herb gardens and vibrant murals, stands with pamphlets on emergency accommodation and medical assistance, and up the stairs are Lifewise staff that can help people find ways to permanent housing, providing advocacy and advice. We were served generous servings of roast chicken and beef stroganoff (on rice or spaghetti), along with basket of sourdough slices to wipe up all the sauce. You’ll find people on all walks of life here — people resting with a book from the communal library, students talking life in the courtyard… even suits who work around the area and looking for something a little off-beat and neighbourly. Everyone was welcomed to join them in their vision to 'build a connected, inclusive community'. For those of us that can easily spend 25 bucks on a typical café meal, why not pay it forward at Merge and to help those who need it most?
Louise had the chicken on spaghetti with peas & corn. She said "Love love love the heart behind this not for profit eatery that is entirely set up for the K’rd homeless community and those who wish to support them. Awesome to see it packed out and running out of food. Obviously meeting a real need."
Katie had the beef stroganoff on rice with steamed vegetables and drank a tea. She said "Pretty impressive portions, we were stuff! Support a worthy cause and buy a meal voucher for somebody!"
Joe had the chicken on rice and drank a juice. He said "Great project, and incredibly good value food!"
Emilie had the chicken on rice and a lipton peach tea. She said "hm… I don’t think I'll 'rate' this food. Made with love, in good faith. Appreciated. :)"
Rebecca had the chicken on rice and lipton peach tea. She said "Really encouraged by the heart behind this business, large affordable and nutritious meals for those in the community who may be struggling to get by."