“It’s like a big extended family and it’s wonderful to be part of it.”

Joanne DeLuca carries her father's legacy of giving

Joanne DeLuca has been a donor and supporter of the Holy Apostles since 2006, but her family relationship with the soup kitchen goes back a lot longer than that. Between Joanne and her father Joe, their donations have been helping to keep the doors of the soup kitchen open to guests for over two decades.

“I always knew Dad always supported the Holy Apostles,” says Joanne. “Every Thanksgiving he’d write out a check to them. That was his tradition and he’d been doing it for years.”

“It tears me up when I see people eating out of garbage cans or begging on the street, but at least I know I am doing something to help. That one less person will go hungry that day because of my donation.-Joanne

It was 1990 when Joe made his first contribution, a contribution that he followed up several times a year, every year, until he passed away in September 2006.

The eldest of Joe’s two daughters – two daughters whose high school photos he still carried in his wallet – her father’s passing was naturally a very difficult time for Joanne. She recalls the months afterwards, sitting down with her mother to go through his paperwork.

“It was coming up to the first Thanksgiving without Dad and we came across a letter from the soup kitchen. I remember Mom and I both looked at each other and smiled, because we both knew what to do: we both knew it would make him happy to make a donation in his name.”

At first for Joanne, the donations were something she did for her father, a link to him, to keep his memory close. But as time went on and she began to learn more about the work we were doing here, she wanted to get more involved. In December 2011, Joanne visited the church for the first time and in January 2012, made the decision to commit to becoming a founder member of the Monthly Giving Circle and to volunteer whenever she could.

“It started as something for Dad but now it’s something for me too,” says Joanne, smiling. “It’s such a special place here. I felt it as soon as I came through the door. It’s like a big extended family and it’s wonderful to be part of it.”

Like many New Yorkers, it distresses Joanne to know that despite the support of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and other feeding programs, that hunger and homelessness are ever growing problems in our city.

“It tears me up when I see people eating out of garbage cans or begging on the street, but at least I know I am doing something to help. That one less person will go hungry that day because of my donation. That makes me happy and I know it would make my Dad happy too.”