Voice of a Guest: John
John remembers eating at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen about nine times before the fire in 1990. Back then, meals were served in the annex of the church. John was living at Bellevue Men’s Shelter and a friend told him he could find a good meal here. A lot has happened since the turn of the century, and John’s come a long way. With the help of the support programs at the soup kitchen, John hasn’t been homeless for about seven years and now lives in Section 8 housing.
The volunteers, staff and other guests have been role models for him.“I came for the food but I got nourished spiritually, even mentally,” he says. “I’ve become very resourceful… how to be more patient, noticing people who worked here. I’ve gained humility, patience…and I can negotiate now.”
John’s encounter with someone at Holy Apostles who went out of their way to be kind sticks with him to this day. “I remember when the social services was out of a trailer outside. It was about Christmas time and one of the workers was walking through. She gave me a very nice coat, and a referral to a thrift shop with a voucher for more clothes. I got a great new pair of boots that really made a difference.” This was a turning point for John. He knew he could count on the support offered here, and began his journey toward permanent housing.
John has experienced many social services settings over the years and the warm welcome offered by volunteers, as well as the feeling of community among guests, offers a change of pace from the “cold, clinical atmosphere” he’s experienced elsewhere. John, who likes to read Christian and Islamic scripture believes that if all places “could reach out socially like Holy Apostles, the world would be a better place.”
As he finishes his bowl of Tabatchnick soup John smiles and says, “The food is always delicious, the place is so clean, and the people are so nice here.”