Finding Shelter from the Heat

07.26.21 | Uncategorized

In the midst of our most recent heatwave, even my quick walk to the train on my evening commute felt like a daunting task. Too hot, too humid, to even think straight, let alone walk one mile. And I was headed back to my air-conditioned apartment!

On one particularly sweltering evening, I was listening to a podcast on my walk as per usual, dreading the remaining 6 blocks until I reached my train. As I approached the corner of 28th street and 7th avenue, a woman stopped me to ask for help. I won’t lie – as many of us do, I considered apologizing and continuing on my way, but something about the way she looked at me – pleading with me to give her a moment of my time – gave me pause.

She apologized profusely for interrupting, and continued on to thank me for taking a second to hear her out. “I’ve been trying to ask women for help,” she said, “I’m currently homeless, and I’m five months pregnant – I left my abusive husband and I can’t find a shelter that will take me right now. They’re all full.”

I asked what I could do for her, and she was quiet for a second before saying, “if you don’t mind, I could really use a place to sleep tonight and a shower – I can get a hotel room with those Visa gift cards and get out of this heat. I’m Elizabeth, by the way.”

As we crossed the street together to head into a Duane Reade, Elizabeth opened up a bit more. I asked her how long she had been away from home, and she explained that at this point, it had been weeks. She showed me bruises on her arm and neck, and explained that she left because she was afraid to put her baby at risk. “But, now I have nowhere to go. And the shelters are all full. I’ve had no idea what to do.”

We wandered the aisles, picking up the gift card, some shampoo and soap, snacks and Gatorade to help Elizabeth stay hydrated on this 97 degree day. We agreed that the heat in New York City is no joke.

Before we parted, Elizabeth off to find a hotel room and some respite from sweat and dehydration, and myself to finish my commute, I made sure to give her a Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen referral card.

We don’t have shelter here, I told Elizabeth, but we do have a Social Services manager who can give you shelter referrals, and legal counseling referrals, as well as toiletries and access to a phone. I made sure she knew she would be able to find a hot, well rounded meal at the Soup Kitchen every weekday too, no matter the weather.

“I had no idea!” Elizabeth said, and then confirmed, “it’s really right around the corner?” I pointed down 28th street and told her she only had to go a couple more blocks and she’d find the Soup Kitchen. We then each continued on with our days, and I’m hoping that by now, she has been able to find a safe place to stay out of the sun and off of the streets.

If you’d like to carry referral cards for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, please email [email protected] with your full name and address. And if you’re able to donate to help support our services for people like Elizabeth, click here.

Sarah Marcantonio

Sarah Marcantonio


Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

Sunday Service is held 11AM (on site and via livestream). Weekday services are held on Zoom.


For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.


Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.


Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.


Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Give Layers of Love this Winter

Help Keep Our Guests Warm this Winter.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.


Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.


Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.


Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.


Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.


Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.


See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.


Holy Apostles in the news.