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Guest Story: Meet Joel and Rodney

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

Joel was a young man, in his early thirties when he first moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic, the only home he had ever known. He’s been in New York for over 8 years, but only recently learned of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.  

He learned about us when Derrick, our meal outreach specialist, was making his morning rounds, delivering breakfast sandwiches to New Yorkers living on the streets. “He gave me a bag and told me about this Church that turns into a soup kitchen every Monday through Friday, 10:30 to 12:30. He said, ‘You can go there and get a meal.’”  

Since learning about the soup kitchen, Joel has found shelter in the Bronx, where he has a room. These sorts of rooms, however, are not required to have a kitchen or bathroom in each unit. So, Joel travels to Manhattan to visit us for a hot meal – his favorite is chicken and rice, which brings fond memories of his childhood in the Dominican Republic.   

“I feel like this is such a great support, it’s a house of the community. It’s like my family. When I come here, I feel supported, and I feel like I matter to you guys. Getting the meal and feeling that someone cares about me, is always great for me. It makes my day.” 

Today, you have made it possible for our meal programs to grow in response to an increase in need. In addition to the daily soup kitchen, your gifts support a robust food pantry that distributes groceries to hundreds of New Yorkers each week. 

New Yorkers like Rodney. Rodney is a veteran, and when he first visited Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in the late 1990s, he was living on the streets. He heard about us from other guests at first. “I used to come over here to eat—and there was a mobile van, and we would get razors, socks, and stuff like that.”  

In April 2019, Rodney was able to secure an apartment in the Lower East Side – he’s been living there for three years and now he’s a regular guest at our food pantry. Rodney loves the fresh vegetables that the pantry provides him with, because fresh produce is so expensive in the stores. “I love the lettuce – I love making salads,” Rodney shared.  

Rodney celebrated his birthday in early February, by making himself a special fried fish entree with food from the pantry. Your generosity has changed Rodney’s life—not only is he off the streets, but he’s also able to make healthier choices today with the ingredients that you make possible for our food pantry to provide. Both the Soup Kitchen and the Food Pantry have made all the difference for Rodney, and for countless other guests who have been touched by your generosity.  

Sarah Marcantonio

Sarah Marcantonio

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