So Much More Than a Meal

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

Phoenix had never heard of Holy Apostle Soup Kitchen. He was just walking down the street when he saw a long line and asked what it was for.

That was in November 2021. Like a lot of New Yorkers, 25-year-old Phoenix had recently lost his full time job due to COVID restrictions. “It was a logistics company, and when things shut down, you don’t have a lot of need for what you do as a company.”

Sadly– also like a lot of New Yorkers–it didn’t take long to lose his apartment. And it wasn’t just the roof over his head. “In the chaos of losing my apartment, I actually lost a lot of stuff, things like my winter jackets,” he remembers. In the middle of November, that was a serious problem.

So Phoenix got in line that day thinking he would at least get a hot meal, something he’d be very grateful for. “Then I saw that he had social services,” he says.

“It was a huge, huge relief,” Phoenix says, and you can tell he means it. The logistics of not having a house were tricky. For example, “I didn’t have a place to cook, so it was great to get the ready food.” But it’s also hard to apply for a job when you don’t have a mailing address.

Thanks to donors like you, Phoenix got warm clothes, a place to receive mail, and help to connect with services he was eligible for. “If I’d found this place before I lost my apartment,” he says ruefully, “I would have been able to get representation for my landlord issues.”

When Phoenix learned about the free computer classes at Holy Apostles, though, it was a breakthrough moment. He threw himself into learning, earning nearly every certification we could offer. He wasn’t going to waste any opportunity to make himself more employable. “I had really basic knowledge,” he says, “but now I’m able to do advanced data entry and graphics.”

With his new training, Phoenix was able to go into job interviews with confidence. He recently landed a part-time job at a company doing work similar to his previous job — but this time, he has the skills to do more complex, higher-value work.

“Everything is better since I came to Holy Apostles,” Phoenix says with conviction. “From not having the day-to-day worry of needing food, to helping me get a job, to introducing me to programs, it’s been great in terms of rebuilding. I only wish I’d found it earlier. Phoenix wants to make sure others find help as soon as possible. “I’ve definitely sent a few people down here,” he explains. “Holy Apostles is super reliable. If you’re really intent on helping yourself out, this is the place to kickstart everything.”

Now, Phoenix says, “My big goal for this year is to get back into full-time employment, then see if I can get back into stable housing.” With the drive he’s shown our team, we believe he’s on his way!”

Sarah Marcantonio

Sarah Marcantonio


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