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Guest Spotlight: Jose

08.30.22 | Food for the Soul, Guest Stories, Voices of our Community

The guests at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen are the reason we’re here. One of those guests, Jose, shared his experience about receiving support at Holy Apostles. Jose originally moved here at the age of seven. He remembers his first day in New York City, craning his head to look at the skyscrapers. He remembers his family’s tiny apartment on the Lower East Side and the store where his mother bought him his first pair of shoes.

From the moment he came to the city, Jose fell in love with New York, and now in his late 70’s, he still loves it. It’s home to him – a place where he has made friends, raised a family, and worked hard.

Jose worked almost his whole life, since he was just a boy. Along with being a husband, a father, and a grandfather, Jose believes that hard work is one of the things that has kept him young.

“Everyone in New York works hard and I love that,” he told me. “I’ve always been proud to be part of that. Until now.”

Some years ago, the company where Jose worked for more than two decades was forced to close. Without any warning, he was out of a job.

He immediately set out to find another job, living on his savings to get by. But with no job on the horizon and rent overdue, he had nowhere to turn.

So he turned to the community at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Jose initially came here for a meal when he realized we had a social services program. While waiting in line to see a counselor, he didn’t expect to get much more out of it than advice on job seeking.

What he got was so much more…

One of our volunteers at the time, Caroline, immediately found out that Jose was eligible for unemployment and retirement benefits. Helping him navigate the application process, Caroline and Jose were able to apply for back payments from when he first lost his job.

Jose was overcome with gratitude when he told me about how Caroline helped him.

“I didn’t know I could get retirement benefits,” Jose told me. “The money came through just as I was about to lose my apartment.”

Jose was so touched by the help he received that when his back payments came through, he made a donation to help others like him.

“I promised myself if I ever had money, I’d take care of some of these people,” he said. “Whatever I can do, I want to do.”

Jose has also volunteered here, knowing what a difference the people here made in his life.

“If it weren’t for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, I’d be on the streets now,” he shared before we parted ways.

Sarah Marcantonio

Sarah Marcantonio

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