Voice of a Guest: Michael
Michael has relied on Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen for about ten years, on and off. When he was homeless and unemployed he came to the soup kitchen for emergency help. He is still a guest here to help make ends meet, and to help keep his spirits up.
His lowest moment came after he had worked ten consecutive days at a street fair, earning $1500. That was to be his security deposit on a rental room. Exhausted from working so hard, he fell asleep in Penn Station, only to wake up and find his money had been stolen.
“I started crying and saying to myself, “I can’t do a shelter.” Then I looked around and I saw a lot of people worse off than I am and I said to myself, “Things happen. You’ve got to make another plan and pick yourself up.””
That outlook on life helped Michael seek out and find the resources that sustain his strength and health, many of them right here at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.
“When I was homeless, the counselors here pointed me in the right direction, to organizations that would help with different things. I lost my eyeglasses when I was sleeping on the street, so they helped me with that. I needed high blood pressure medicine, that was a big thing.”
Michael utilized the outreach services at the soup kitchen, like Single Stop and Urban Justice, to get him going in the right direction towards clothing, housing and access to medical services.
While all of this helped him get back on his feet enough to land another job, he needed a current i.d. in order to start working again since his old expired license had been stolen as well. In a catch 22 situation, Michael couldn’t afford the new i.d. he needed in order to start earning money. Frustrated, he brought a letter from the new employer, explaining the situation, to a pastor at the soup kitchen. The pastor gave Michael the money he needed for new identification.
Today, Michael is the primary caretaker for his disabled brother who in return pays Micheal a $300-a-week salary. He still confronts the obstacles that come with low income in an expensive city. At the soup kitchen he finds a way not only to save on food costs, but also to gain “the spiritual strength that I need on a daily basis.”
“Sometimes you give up hope but when you are in that spiritual circle, you can have some peace.”