Voice of a Volunteer…Rachel
“I started the search for soup kitchens in the city after meeting James, a homeless teenager,” says Rachel, a Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen volunteer and dedicated Fast-A-Thoner.
“He was hungry most days, unable to find consistent food,” she recalls. After buying him food and helping him to get an ID so he could get into a shelter, she asked herself, “How could I help James on a greater level?”
Rachel knew the answer had to start with nutritious and reliable meals.
“He needed food,” she explains. “And I set on a mission to find a soup kitchen that provided daily meals.”
“The more people I spoke to, the more I realized how difficult it can be to find food,” she says, describing the irregular schedules offered elsewhere. “Holy Apostles operates FIVE days a week, serving approximately 1,000 meals per day! The set up alone is something to marvel at. But what impresses me most is the true care that is given, and the gratitude that is received at Holy Apostles.”
A busy professional, Rachel volunteers whenever her schedule allows, often on holidays. By getting to know James, and getting to know Holy Apostles, she has become more motivated than ever to advocate for hungry and homeless New Yorkers.
“I have participated in the Fast-A-Thon for two years now and plan to do so for years to come,” she explains. “It’s a great opportunity to spread awareness and motivate others to donate to this great cause.”
Each year on her Fast-A-Thon campaign page Rachel includes James in her story, and how she found Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen as a result of their connection. She has truly become an inspiration to others, helping them to understand the painful cost of food insecurity and homelessness.
“I have seen many elderly who have lost their housing due to rent increases,” she says. “I have seen older gay men who were abandoned by their families due to intolerance, and, of course, there is James, who became homeless at 18—with no one to offer guidance or support after he left foster care. Holy Apostles offers support and understanding to a population that is too often ignored.”
When Rachel looked for a food emergency program to help James, she didn’t imagine she would help find him so much more. “I have witnessed beautiful exchanges between patrons and volunteers,” she says. “Many know each other by name. Participants befriend one another. It is a true communal atmosphere where patrons receive sustenance for both soul and body.”