Spotlight on our Warming Center

02.22.22 | Food for the Soul, Staff Stories, Voices of our Community

On nights when the temperature in New York City dips below 32 degrees, a different sort of community forms at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen: a group of guests who typically sleep on the streets or in a shelter rest here overnight. 

Starting in 2019, we partnered with New York City to become an official Warming Center. Warming Centers are alternatives to shelters and are respites for unhoused New Yorkers. We’re open when a Cold Blue is called – when the temperature or the wind chill in New York City is below 32 degrees.  

Guests find the warming center in several ways: they may be guests at the Soup Kitchen who learn that they can come back here at night for a place to lay their heads. They may hear about us through word of mouth. Or, they may be sent to us when a shelter they visit is full. Sometimes, typically between 1AM-4AM, warming center guests are brought to us by outreach workers, who find them sleeping outside in dangerous conditions and ask them if they need a place to go.  

When they arrive, guests will meet Bruce or Derrick, our team members who oversee the Warming Center and welcome them into our space. Around 8:30PM, guests will travel up to the second floor of our Mission House. The lights stay on until 11PM, and at lights off: guests go to sleep. Sometimes, they’ll sleep on chairs – sometimes on blankets and sleeping bags, when we’re able to provide them.  

Overnight, our guests will rest. Throughout the night, new people might arrive—and some may even leave the warming center in the middle of the night. Why? Sometimes because they have to get to work and their job starts early in the morning. 

At 6am, they’re served breakfast—an egg and meat sandwich, coffee, and a condiment bag with snacks and nourishment for the day ahead.  

Many of the guests at the Warming Center are regulars – they come back most nights when a Cold Blue is called by New York City officials. These guests know each other and we know them—they’ve created their own community at the Warming Center.  

At Holy Apostles, we strive to provide nourishment for the body and the soul, and that includes providing a place to rest for those in need. To purchase blankets for the guests at our Warming Center this winter and other cold weather essentials for unhoused guests this winter, please click here.

Sarah Marcantonio

Sarah Marcantonio

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