At Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, we’re always trying to find ways to streamline our systems and make life easier for our guests. This year, we started an initiative to improve our check-in process for our Food Pantry.
Until recently, when guests arrived at the Food Pantry, they gave their name to one of our volunteers to begin the check-in process. The volunteer would then look up the guest in the system and enter their information manually before making an appointment for the next week.
Our new process helps guests get in and out of our doors quickly, allowing us to serve more individuals and families as the need in New York City continues to grow. Now, when a guest enters our Food Pantry, they hand their new Holy Apostles ID to a volunteer, who then scans the QR code on their ID. This process is faster and prevents user error.
I spoke with Evalina, a volunteer who assisted Jay Alfaro, our Manager of Social Services, with the process of helping our guest obtain these new IDs with QR codes on them.
When I asked Evalina to describe the process of working at the Food Pantry, she said it’s been “absolutely wholesome and fulfilling”. She also told us, “my heart has grown a couple sizes since I started here.”
Evalina and all of our volunteers play a critical role in ensuring that our guests feel comfortable when they come to the Food Pantry. Evalina tries to make guests feel more comfortable by cracking a joke or telling guests to “strike a pose!” when she takes photos for their new IDs. She shared that after a few weeks of volunteering here, some of the guests started to recognize her and greet her by name. “To share that mutual care and mutual recognition – it’s so special,” she said.
One new process that has really benefited our guests is creating sheets of FAQs translated into the languages most spoken by our guests. With our guests, some volunteers face a language barrier, and these sheets allow for easier and more thorough communications. We’re always looking for volunteers who speak languages like Cantonese, Spanish, or Russian – if you’d like to volunteer your time in this way, please contact us today.
Between the friendly faces of our volunteers and our new technology to improve wait times at the Pantry, we are committed to making sure that all feel welcome when they arrive at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.