Voice of a Volunteer: Matt
“Every day when I leave the soup kitchen after a day of volunteering, I feel so amazing. It feels great knowing that I’m helping to feed a thousand hungry and homeless people every time I come in,” says volunteer Matt Feliciano, smiling. “Maybe I can’t stop world hunger but I’m doing what I can.”
Matt, a licensed barber who works in Long Island and lives in Manhattan, has been helping out at the soup kitchen for the past year. He’s become known for his friendly attitude, helping guests and other volunteers alike.
Matt’s interactions with our guests aren’t limited to his hours volunteering. He’s joined in for the Writers’ Workshop, meditation, and the morning mass. “I prefer to be with those less fortunate. I want to show them that there’s no separation between us; we’re all human beings and we can all socialize with each other.”
While Matt only found the soup kitchen a year ago, he decided he wanted to help to fight hunger and homelessness six months before then. Disturbed by the number of people he saw in the streets and on the subway who were barely able to get by, he was determined to make a difference and help those in need. He started volunteering with City Harvest but they weren’t accommodating to his work schedule. So, he started on his own personal project to help homeless people in his community.
“I would make fruit bags for people sleeping in Chelsea, so they at least had something to eat,” says Matt. “But when I found out about the soup kitchen, I knew it was the perfect opportunity. By volunteering at the soup kitchen I can help to feed a lot more people, this is actually making a big difference.”
“I come all my days off of work, typically twice a week, and I make donations whenever I can,” Matt says. “There is a lot more I want to do, but this is what I can do, for now.”
You can usually spot him by his rain boots. “I’ve done every job here. But I most often volunteer washing dishes. The dish room is really difficult because it’s really hot,” he says. “But those clean plates and forks are important. You need something to put the food on!”