The Power of Welcome – Ricky’s Story

04.26.24 | Food for the Soul, Guest Stories, Volunteer Stories

As one of our dedicated volunteers, Ricky loves to make people smile. He knows how important it is because his own journey to healing started with a smile.

Ricky would tell you about Angie, the first person to greet him at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. It wasn’t just that she gave him warm clothes and other essentials, provided by caring donors like you. Angie made sure Ricky knew how glad she was to help him and that she valued him. It was a message he urgently needed back then.

A troubled childhood left many scars that stood between Ricky and stability. Sometimes he couldn’t keep a roof over his head. At times he was even forced to live on the streets. “It’s a very hard life to live,” Ricky says bluntly.

“There was an awakening that came over me when I came here”

Often, he encountered violence while staying in shelters. Sleeping outside came with a constant risk of being attacked and robbed. “Being outside, you had to make plans. You wanted
to know where you could be if it rained.”

Emotionally, life was even harder. “I shut myself off from my family. I didn’t want them to see me that way. I would buy alcohol because I was trying to escape the reality of being homeless. When you’re out in the cold and you have no one to go to, it causes you to lose hope.”

But when Ricky came to Holy Apostles for the first time, Angie and others greeted him with a smile and genuine welcome. “I had lost hope when I was in other places, but when I came here, it was a life changer for me. I felt welcomed sitting at the table. The food was delicious, and you could sit for a while, be comfortable.” He found comfort and support, receiving essentials like clothes and toiletries.

Inspired by the care he received, Ricky now volunteers, motivated by his own experiences: “It makes me love them more, and it makes me love myself more.” We’re grateful for Ricky and all our volunteers who make our guests feel valued every day. And we’re grateful to you for making it all possible!

Kayla Mills

Kayla Mills


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.

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.