This summer, our team surveyed our Soup Kitchen and Pantry guests to better understand who visits us and how Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen can serve our community. Through interviews with our guests, we gained a deeper understanding of the needs and the background of each person who visits us.
Through our two largest meal programs at the Soup Kitchen, we serve diverse communities with different needs and requests. At our Soup Kitchen meal service, many of our guests are experiencing homelessness. 31% of our Soup Kitchen guests are living on the streets and 5% are living in a city shelter. For these unhoused guests, having access to a hot meal and additional resources at the Soup Kitchen is essential.
22% of our Soup Kitchen guests have a part-time or full-time job, and they come to the Soup Kitchen to make ends meet on their limited income. While many of our Soup Kitchen guests are retired or unemployed, our guests that have secured a job often continue coming to the Soup Kitchen for food, help with housing applications, mail service, and other assistance.
Our pantry program serves a different community. At the pantry, we serve 28 out of 33 neighborhoods that were identified as being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus, many of which are communities of color. Ninety-four percent of our pantry guests are people of color, and many of these guests visit us from neighborhoods that lack resources for healthy and fresh food.
In addition to living in neighborhoods that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and lacking access to healthy food, our guests also demonstrate extreme disparities in access to education. For our pantry guests, 9.5% received no formal education, and 27.4% have an elementary school education. The lack of education that many of our guests received makes it difficult to find full-time work, especially in a struggling economy. Many of our pantry guests also live in households with multiple family members, including children and the elderly, whom they care for.
The different background of our guests means their needs are different as well. For our Soup Kitchen guests, their most common requests are for more clothing, help preparing for job interviews, and help with paperwork to apply for housing. Our pantry guests request translation services, assistance with housing and legal aid, and referrals for low-cost medical and senior care.
At Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, our services don’t just nourish the body—they nourish the soul. Luckily, our Social Services department, which is entirely funded by generous individuals and foundations, can address some of the needs and requests from both our Soup Kitchen and Pantry guests.
You can help address these needs as well. We are always looking for skilled volunteers who can help guests prepare for job interviews, fill out paperwork for housing, and translate information for our Mandarin and Spanish speakers. If you’re interested in offering your services to our guests, please email [email protected]postlesnyc.org. To donate to support our Social Services department, please click here.