Voices Newsletter–Winter/Spring 2017

Voice of a Guest…Dewayne Sr. & Jr.

DwayneDewayne Sr. has a new mission in life. The fifty-two year old soup kitchen guest is determined to raise his five month old son, Dewayne Jr, to be a healthy, strong man. “I want him to have a better chance than I did, to know I’ve got his back…that I’m here for him.” he says. Familiar with the soup kitchen from an earlier, more painful, time in his life, Dewayne Sr. is thankful it’s still here now that he’s a father.

“I came here in the mid 90’s, when I was homeless,” he recalls as one of our social services volunteers walks by and hands him a stack of baby clothes from the clothing pantry. “Back then, I was living in a Kenmore Refrigerator cardboard box!”

As he bounces little Dewayne on his lap, the proud dad doesn’t go into detail about what led him to that cardboard box, but he does remember very clearly how he got out of it.

“This place is indeed a miracle. I’m forever grateful.”

“It was these people here who helped me figure things out. They gave me referrals for shelter, helped me with applications for housing… they got me to the right medical and dental care, and to the support I needed to stay on track.”

Sadly, because of the disabling effects of homelessness, Dewayne has not been able to secure the kind of training and employment that he hopes his son will achieve one day. “I still try to count all my blessings,” he says. “I’d be dead now if it wasn’t for the people here who helped me way back then.”

But now, in addition to the life altering surprise of fatherhood in his early fifties, Dewayne Sr. has been left with the awesome responsibility of being the primary parent. “It’s hard for sure. I didn’t want to be doing this all on my own.” Describing how he’s doing everything he can to make ends meet and stay in his apartment, he says, “I’m just barely paying for formula and wipes and the diapers. But we still got a roof over our heads, and these meals help me get something in my stomach so I’m not hungry.”

While Dewayne Jr tries – and spits back out – a few pieces of rice, Dewayne Sr laughs, “Before I know it, he’ll be eating the whole meal.” And as he and his son look in each other’s eyes he says, “This place is indeed a miracle. I’m forever grateful.”


1982- 2017 Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Turns 35      1992soupkitchen

On October 26, 1982, as a response to the sharp increase in homeless individuals in Chelsea, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen served its first 35 meals to hungry New Yorkers in need. Continuing a rich legacy of social justice, the parishioners of Holy Apostles Church knew they had to take action to relieve the suffering they were witnessing every day. Times were tough, and offering a simple daily meal was seen as a temporary relief measure until the economy turned around. But since those first few weeks of quick-thinking and on-the-job learning, the soup kitchen has continued to open its doors to New York’s most vulnerable, despite local and national tragedies that challenged our day-to-day operations.

The economy has gone through booms and busts since then but sadly, the challenge of hunger and homelessness is still with us. And while the unrelenting problem of poverty in a large city is nothing to celebrate, this year we will be honoring and celebrating our history and the generous people who’ve HASK35yr.logomade it possible to keep our doors open to anyone in need of nourishment for body and soul. To learn more about how we grew to be the largest soup kitchen in the city, keep an eye out for a special edition of Voices this September. Also, follow us as we mark special moments in history on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Voice of a Volunteer…Lois and Robert

LoisandRobertThis April, Lois will be celebrating an astounding ten years of volunteer service, the last several of which she’s also enjoyed shared with her husband, Robert.

Lois recalls when she first heard about Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, many years before her first day here. “I saw a tiny little newspaper ad, looking for volunteers,” she says. “And I noticed it said, ‘we serve over 1000 meals a day’. That amount stuck in the back of my mind.”

But it wasn’t until she saw a New York Times book review about the Writers’ Workshop anthology, Food for the Soul, that she decided she had to finally see the place for herself. “I wanted to join the Writers’ Workshop,” she laughs, “but I figured I should volunteer first!”

She’s been volunteering her friendly smile along with every cup of tea, coffee and juice she serves ever since. “If someone wants to stand and talk for a little while, I do,” she says, noting how a few moments of conversation can make a big difference for someone who may be homeless.

By the time Robert retired in 2010, he was eager to join her as a volunteer and the two can often be seen before the meal service enjoying coffee with fellow volunteers. “It’s a fun activity for a retired couple to do together,” Lois says.

Along the way Lois did join the Writers’ Workshop, adding her pieces to the anthology and blog, and her support to other writers, both guests and volunteers. Her decade at the soup kitchen has been an invaluable part of the friendly atmosphere our guests experience everyday here. “A good thing is being done here,” she says. “I can feel God’s presence.”


Farm to Tray May 18th, 2017FarmtoTray

We are so excited to be marking our fifth annual Farm to Tray spring event on May 18th! This is a time when we celebrate our emergency hunger relief using food sustainable practices. Several years ago, as the largest food emergency program in the city, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen committed to using fresh ingredients and environmentally responsible methods and from that new approach, Farm to Tray was conceived. This fun and elegant fundraiser continues to help us sustain our presence and hope for New Yorkers in need.

What has become our major fundraiser has also become a community tradition, bringing our community together with food writers, gourmands, and of course the highly revered NYC chefs who give their time and talent to making Farm to Tray a greater success each year.

“I’m thrilled to return to Farm to Tray,” says Chef Yvan Lemoine. Known for his Food Network appearances and culinary publications, Lemoine will be traveling a few blocks from his new restaurant, Union Fare, “to help ensure New Yorkers in need always have a place they can rely on for a healthy meal.”

New to the culinary line up, Caroline Schiff, Executive Pastry Chef from Scoops & Sweets at The Greene Grape, will be introducing her treats to the menu. “I’m excited to bring our sweets to Farm to Tray this year,” she says, “and to help Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen continue their commitment to serving meals with local and quality ingredients to New Yorkers most in need.”

Thanks to our 2017 honoree Whole Foods Market, who will once again be donating all the ingredients, the generous partnerships with corporate and culinary sponsors, and the location of the event right here in the beautiful sanctuary at  Holy Apostles where our guests eat every weekday, the funds raised at Farm to Tray can go directly toward the cost of running the soup kitchen and providing nutritious, locally sourced meals.

“Our meals are prepared using farm fresh milk, fruits and vegetables purchased from upstate New York, and we use excess fresh produce and meats that would otherwise go to waste from local culinary organizations and ‘food rescue’ programs, ” says Michael Ottley, Director of Operations.

Farm to Tray is truly about the community of people who make up our whole food system – all of us who make it possible for our guests to enjoy farm fresh food at our soup kitchen in the city,” adds Bishop St. John. “By caring for the environment and our New York culinary and agricultural community, we can strengthen and care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

For the last two years, tickets have sold out early for Farm to Tray so don’t miss out on your chance to help us continue our mission serving healthy meals to hungry and homeless New Yorkers. Click here to see the full list of culinary partners, purchase tickets and learn more about this festive fundraiser. Still have questions? Call us at (212) 914-0167.


Bite Sized

Fast-A-Thon 2016: a Record-Setting Success!

Fast-a-thonThankYouThanks to 41 Fast-A-Thoners and 494 donors who supported their fasts, our 2016 Fast-A-Thon was a record- setting success. And with the additional generous support and fundraising efforts from Agera Energy, Apple Bank, Eastern Funding, Investors Bank and KPMG we raised $90,000 toward the approximate 260,000 meals we serve annually. On November 17th, in solidarity with many of our guests who rely on the soup kitchen for their only meal each day, Fast-A-Thoners gave up two out of their three meals. While raising funds for the soup kitchen from their family, friends and colleagues, our community raised awareness about food insecurity, reminding ourselves that our guests’ hunger is real, urgent and requires attention and care.


How Much Food Goes Into 1 Day of Meals?

menu

By the time a meal is on one soup kitchen guest’s tray when we open our doors at 10:30, our cooks have been busy since the early hours preparing enough food to serve 1,000 hungry and homeless New Yorkers. The amount of food that goes into a typical recipe is staggering, and by the end of every meal, our cooks and volunteers are already getting ready to start the following day’s meals. All this is made possible by the generosity of food rescue organizations, volunteers and of course individual donors who fund more than half of our daily food costs.

 


Planned Giving – Think of Us in Your Will

plannedgivingimageWe’ve kicked off a wills campaign! In honor of our 35th year of service to New York City’s hungry, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen has inaugurated a campaign to encourage gifts by will. We haven’t missed a day since October of 1982, serving the hunger and social service needs of our guests through fire, terrorism, blackout and hurricane. Throw an obstacle at us and we’ll overcome it!

We want to—New York City needs us to—continue our tradition of serving food for the soul indefinitely. That’s where your will comes in. A gift in your will helps us meet the food and social service needs of the City’s hungry. Hunger is a long-term problem that needs a long-run solution. Your will is part of the answer.

Of course, your loved ones come first. Foremost, your will provides for the futures of your spouse, partner, children and other family. Can you then carve out a piece for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen? There are lots of options for your gift. Please contact Jane Van Ingen or call at (212) 924-0167 for more information. On behalf of our all our guests, today and tomorrow, we thank everyone who has committed to making a lasting difference in the lives of our guests at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.


February Flash Fundraiser, “Project Safe and Warm”: A Flurry of Generosity!

flashfundraiserHundreds of homeless Americans die each year from hypothermia and many more are injured by frostbite. For our homeless guests, the bitter cold this winter has been punctuated by record-setting heat – a welcome relief to some of us, but also one more unpredictable factor for unhoused New Yorkers. Hypothermia can set in even under moderate temperatures without proper clothing, and when temperatures plummet after a warm day our homeless guests are especially at risk of cold related illness.

Thanks to our many friends who pitched in as little as ten dollars toward our one week February flash fundraiser, “Project Safe and Warm”, we were able to purchase 160 sets of long thermal underwear and thermal socks for our guests as a base layer of protection against the cold. By coming together as a community, we made a big difference in the lives of our guests’ comfort – and even survival – this winter. THANK YOU!