- Voices of …. Our Guests in 2017
- 2017: Fashion Shows and Team Building Added New Life to our Volunteer Program
- 2017: 35th Anniversary Celebration
- 2017: Fast-A-Thon
- Looking Back and Looking Forward: The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Food Sustainability Report
- Small Bites: Volunteer Holiday Party, Holiday Hop, and Honey for Sale
- Mark Your Calendar: Farm to Tray
Voices of …. Our Guests in 2017
Last year, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen served 276,500 meals and offered 50,904 social services sessions. Every guest who ate with us had hunger in common, but they each carried their own story of resilience and hope. William, Doris, Dewayne, Anthony and Chester were just a few of our guests who generously shared their experiences with us in 2017.
71 year old William was homeless for the first time in his life last summer. Having worked until retirement age, William had accrued a small 401k plan. But soon after retiring he was hospitalized with emergency heart and lung conditions that now require regular treatment. “The bills wiped out my 401k,” he explained in September. “So now I only get a little Social Security.” At first, William resisted going to a homeless shelter and slept on a park bench.
“I don’t know how to be homeless,” he said. “At my age, it’s not something I’m used to doing.” -William, Soup Kitchen Guest
A meeting with one of our social services counselors helped William find a way back to safety and stability. “She told me I was eligible for Medicare, housing and food stamps,” he said. “And she even helped me complete the application on-line … I never knew about all those things. I’m taking care of business. It’s a chance to take care of my health, and have a few peaceful moments.”
By December, William reported that he had found a men’s shelter he was comfortable enough to go to for the winter months while he waits to hear about the status of his housing application. “It takes patience,” he said. “One step at a time.”
Family trauma and eviction from her apartment left Doris on the streets of New York, not knowing what to do next. She found the soup kitchen by word of mouth, and here, she connected with one of our partnering agencies that advocates for the homeless. With their help, Doris found a women’s shelter before the nights turned cold and has connected with much needed services. “It’s a blanket when I’m cold,” she said about the soup kitchen. “It’s somebody thinking about looking out for me.”
In the 1990s, Dewayne, Sr. was homeless and fighting for his life. “I’d be dead now if it wasn’t for the people here who helped me way back then,” he told us last January. He was back at the soup kitchen with his five month old son Dewayne, Jr. for a little extra support so he could stretch his budget.
“I want him to have a better chance than I did, to know I’ve got his back…” Dewayne still struggles with the lasting effects of homelessness trauma and poverty, but because our volunteers were here for him when he needed the most help, he can have hope for the future. “This place is indeed a miracle,” he said. “I’m forever grateful.”
“I came from a dysfunctional family: alcohol, drugs, prostitution,” Anthony recalled to us last summer. Bouncing between group homes and foster care, Anthony ended up living on the streets at the age of 18, addicted to drugs. It was not long before he was turning to crime to support his habits, and, by the age of 20, he was serving time in prison.
When Anthony was released, living on the streets was the only life he knew. His turning point came when a little girl gave him a dollar, telling him that her mother said he was “a bum.” That night, having always refused help from homeless outreach workers, Anthony climbed into their van.
Today, Anthony is clean, sober and living in supported housing. Besides coming to the soup kitchen to help him stretch his budget, Anthony says, “I come here to stay grateful.” The soup kitchen is a reminder of how far he’s come, and that there is kindness and a community he can rely on.
A newly retired MTA bus driver, Chester had never eaten at a soup kitchen until last summer. With his own and his grown daughters’ medical needs and expenses, along with grandchildren he helps support, Chester is looking for ways to make ends meet and find the nutrition he needs to stay healthy. “The food here – it’s never fried.” he said. “It’s a blessing from God.”
2017: Fashion Shows and Team Building Added New Life to our Volunteer Program
Serving about 1,000 meals in two hours can be a sobering experience for many volunteers. But when a little playfulness is added to the morning announcements, our volunteers can start the day energized and ready to spread some cheer. That’s what happens now during our daily Soup Kitchen Rock the Runway, thanks to Manager of Volunteers, Revere Joyce, who initiated the new tradition last summer. Donning our “fashion” aprons, gloves and hats, volunteers rock the aisle between the tables to the applause and delight of their fellow volunteers.
We also rolled out meaningful new volunteer group programs in 2017. Expanding on their days of service, groups now extend their generosity through our Good Corporate Citizen, Nonprofit Partners in Service Program and Hunger, and Homeless and Charitable Giving Program for Students. You can start learning more about this program for your organization here.
2017: 35th Anniversary Celebration
On October 28th, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen honored all who have made it possible to serve hungry and homeless New Yorkers for thirty five years. Guests, volunteers, staff and leaders from today and years gone by joined together for a fun evening of good food, beverages, cake and memorabilia. The Avenues World School Jazz Band volunteered their talent to play hits from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000s. Joining 18 generous sponsors and volunteers who donated their time and energy, Cocktail Caterers offered a delectable line-up of foods reminiscent of each decade since the soup kitchen opened. The Edward Morgan Ballet gave a new, original dance and musical performance honoring the homeless, and the hope and healing that Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen has provided. Soup kitchen Executive Directors Rev. Father Rand Frew, (founder), Rev. Dr. William Greenlaw, Reverend Elizabeth Maxwell and Reverend Glenn Chalmers regaled the crowd with fond memories, and reminded all present of the importance of our on-going mission. Parish Administrator Wendy Shepherd was honored for her 29 years – and counting – Holy Apostles career. Her words captured the spirit of our community: “This place speaks volumes for itself. This is a place that is so unique to me, to New York and what is at the heart of it is giving, always giving.” Chelsea Now covered the event and the full article can be found here.
A record setting number of Fast-A-Thoners and generous supporters stepped up to the plate for our 6th annual Fast-A-Thon fall fundraiser. Fifty nine steadfast Fast-A-Thon champs spent the fall raising awareness about hunger and much needed funds of all sizes from 680 donors before eating only one meal the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Joining our docket of Fast-A-Thon teams this year was a volunteer group from Seton Hall University who journaled their day of fasting in a shared on-line document. Here is one moving testament from a student, who found personal meaning in the experience:
“I wholeheartedly feel as though this experience has given me a deeper understanding of how the food insecure live each day and I’m grateful for being given the opportunity to contribute to the cause so THANK YOU :). Once the day was over I realized that while 12AM marked the end of my fasting, the food insecure don’t have that relief. My one day is only a mere glimpse at what the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen guests…experience each day.”
Thanks to Investors Bank for their generous $10,000 grant and campaign spirit, and all the new and returning Fast-A-Thoners who helped raise over $68,000. A grateful congratulations is due to our top three non-corporate and non-staff Fast-A-Thoners: Ian Frazier, Paul and Kelly Cole, and Mamundi Subhas. Collectively they raised $13,985, and earned themselves Farm to Tray and Soup Kitchen prizes.
Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Fast-A-Thon a success!
Looking Back and Looking Forward: The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Food Sustainability Report
We are well on our way to Zero Waste by 2020! Having begun work with the NYU Wagner Capstone Project in 2017, we signed an agreement with the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) for recycling plastic, metals and organics. This month we will conduct a food waste audit and are looking forward to the arrival of specialized bins and clear signage to sort waste. As part of their project, The Capstone Team will visit a similar organization to observe what it takes to be a total recyclable institution.
Our guests are integral to this process and plans are under way to conduct a guest focus group that will help us understand menu preferences and inform our food purchase plans.
One of our challenges ahead will be to determine the best alternative to paper cups. Our team is researching a type of reusable cup that holds both cold and hot beverages. With the ideal solution to its storage and labor needs, the cost and environmental impact should be neutral.
“The goal of Zero Waste by 2020 is the socially responsible thing to do,” says Michael Ottley, Director of Operations. “It fits nicely in our goals of serving fresh and local produce and dairy, and accepting food donations that would otherwise be wasted.”
Volunteer Holiday Party
Thanks to the generosity from Misha Dairy, MKTG, MustelaUSA, Bombas, Pump Entertainment, Starbucks, and of course our hardworking kitchen and operations staff, our volunteers were able to celebrate the holidays together in style on December 21st.
17th annual Holiday Hop Benefit
The 17th annual Holiday Hop hosted by Susan Campanaro and Janine Molinari was held December 19th at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre. A packed house watched young Broadway talent perform holiday favorites, dance and comic routines. A most enjoyable evening was had by all and the event raised $780 for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. Bravo!
Holy Honey Now for sale! If you read our summer newsletter you may have seen the news about our new bee hives that are on the roof of the mission house. They have already produced enough honey to make a first batch! Holy Apostles Holy Honey is now being labeled, and look for further information about purchasing this honey on our website as it becomes available!
Mark Your Calendars!
We already have much to look forward to in 2018!
Our 6th annual Farm to Tray cocktail benefit will be on Thursday, May 17th and tickets are now on sale. Farm to Tray is our annual celebration of food and community at the soup kitchen, challenging well-respected culinary figures from across the city to produce a Sustainable Menu for this cocktail benefit. The idea for the fundraiser is firmly rooted in our commitment to food sustainability. It’s not too early to purchase your tickets, donate silent auction items, place your ad in the beautiful journal, or even consider partnering your organization as a sponsor. Click here for more information.