Voice of a Guest: Judith
Judith, a 47-year-old New Yorker, has been a guest at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen for over five years.
Before falling on hard times, Judith worked for the Parks Department and before then as a nurse’s aide. But in 2010, when she and her husband both lost their jobs, they were no longer able to keep up with the rent, and evicted from their apartment. Judith’s husband spiraled into a deep depression which led to a crack cocaine addiction. Eventually, he left Judith on her own.
Homeless and alone, Judith turned to the shelter system for help. But finding her meager possessions lost or stolen at the end of each day — even when she had locked them up — became too much and she felt that sleeping at the airport was safer. By using a rolling suitcase that makes her look like any other traveler, Judith has been able to make JFK her home for the past three years.
Judith is grateful for the two-to-three days each week when she is able to get to the soup kitchen, where she relies on a meal that’s not only hot and appetizing, but healthy and well-balanced. “It’s hard to find meals that include fruits and vegetables,” she says — a sentiment echoed by many of the women and men we serve. The day she spoke to us, Judith and all of our guests enjoyed pasta with meat sauce, mixed vegetables, salad, apples, milk and juice.
Judith also appreciates the compassion and kindness of staff and volunteers alike. “Everyone is so good here. They treat you like they care. They go out of their way to help.”
Recently, that help has included a voucher for the warm winter coat Judith wears on these bitterly cold days. Help has also come in the form of her participation in the Writers’ Workshop where she has been able to access her own creativity for the first time since childhood and to find a way to break out of isolation by connecting with others.
Along with all the help and support that she gets from the soup kitchen, Judith loves the music and the musicians who share their talent and time. The Thursday we spoke to Judith, Karen Taborn was at the grand piano. As she played Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing” for a few moments on a cold February day — and thanks to our donors and volunteers — the soup kitchen was able to ease the worries and burdens of our all guests, including Judith.