“It Gives Me the Strength I Need.” – Stephen

06.23.16 | Food for the Soul, Guest Stories

Voice of a Guest: Stephen

Stephen, a highly-educated twenty-nine year old, has been homeless for almost two years. Securing the steady career track he expected with a college degree has been a challenge in the post-recession economy, one that Stephen has faced with humility and hard work, and one which the soup kitchen has played a vital role.

Originally from Detroit, Stephen has called New York home since his days in college. With a Bachelor’s degree in English and a few credits shy of a Master’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College, Stephen stopped out to get ahead on expenses. Instead, he found himself falling behind.

He found rewarding, but temporary, work where he could use his education to make the world a better place. “I taught English as a second language in China for a year,” he says. “When I came back I worked for the mayoral campaign.”

When the election was over, however, Stephen found himself searching for a steady paycheck once again, and falling quickly behind on his bills, including his student loans and rent.

“I didn’t want to, but I had to apply for public assistance,” he recalls, “And part of that is a requirement to be in a Back-to-Work program.”

It was there that Stephen learned about the soup kitchen. “The program isn’t too far from here, and an instructor told me about the soup kitchen, that I could get something to eat between classes.”

Meanwhile, despite piecing together temporary and part time jobs when and wherever he could, Stephen ended up living in a Bronx shelter, just a few miles from the college where he had studied just a few years before.

“With wages as low as they are and with no real opportunities to actually get a real job, homelessness is virtually impossible to overcome,” Stephen observes.

 Stephen finally secured a permanent full time position at Access-a-Ride. “I make reservations and trouble shoot..It’s still minimum wage, but I just got my second pay check,” he says.   

“I still come here almost every day on my break, the food is really good, and it really does help me save money and get by,” he states. “It gives me the strength I need for work, too.”

It’s important to Stephen to keep plugging away, to stay hopeful about his future. While our social services team offers a variety of resources, Stephen has found one simple program that has been essential to his personal dignity and professional goals: “The haircut vouchers. They’re indispensable,” he says, finishing his meal and smiling.


Sarah Marcantonio

Sarah Marcantonio


Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

Sunday Service is held 11AM (on site and via livestream). Weekday services are held on Zoom.


For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.


Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.


Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.


Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Give Layers of Love this Winter

Help Keep Our Guests Warm this Winter.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.


Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.


Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.


Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.


Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.


Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.


See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.


Holy Apostles in the news.