- Voice of a Guest…Tony
- Faces of our Guests…a glimpse of the courageous journeys that we are honored to be a part of…
- Annual Survey
- Voice of a Volunteer…Maureen
- Farm to Tray
- Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding
Voice of a Guest…Tony
When Tony was a Wall Street executive three years ago, he never thought he would ever need to worry about his next meal. But that all changed in one day when, he recalls, “My boss got caught for insider trading. He was banned from Wall Street and so was I, because I was part of the same outfit.”
Since then, the graduate level professional who attended prep schools in the 1980s has been searching for work. Unable to go back into the finance world, and untrained for any other professional work, he says he has only been able to find temporary jobs in customer service. “I came to this country from England to go to school and college,” he says. “And I had it all: a nice apartment, a rental in Connecticut…a Range Rover.” But since losing his lucrative earnings he had to give up on all those luxuries, and was soon struggling to support his college age son.
“I’m essentially homeless now,” he says, describing a tenuous life of relying on the kindness of others and temporarily staying with various friends to sleep at night.
Hungry and on the job hunt, Tony was walking by Holy Apostles one day when he saw the line stretching around the corner and found out there was a soup kitchen inside. Since then, he’s made meals here a regular part of his strategy to get through these very tough times. “The food fills a void till about 5:00,” he says. “But also everyone is so polite, there’s no disdain.”
For Tony, it’s also a chance to enjoy a few minutes of elegance. “The music is a wonderful touch,” he says. “I close my eyes and I think I’m back in the Algonquin.”
Tony has spent much of the last three years reflecting on where he has been and what the future might hold. He sits with other guests who have never had the luxuries, education or success he’s experienced and says he feels lucky to have enjoyed as much as he has in his life. He notices the plight of the homeless more than he ever, and has felt a new sense of responsibility to make a difference in their lives even while he himself struggles to get by.
“Now,” he says. “I’m actually finding myself caring.”
Faces of our Guests…a glimpse of the courageous journeys that we are honored to be a part of…
JR, Ashley Carlos, Edwin and Mathilde stopped by our “Story Table” this spring to quickly share how the soup kitchen has helped them in their journey. Each of our guests have unique and varied challenges, but they all have hunger in common. And here, they find nourishment for their body, mind and soul, along with essential resources they need for healthy, safety and shelter.
Our annual guest survey was conducted Thursday, April 27th, 2018. Thanks to our volunteers, including the enthusiastic involvement of our Good Corporate Citizen friends at Coach for all their help distributing, explaining and collecting the surveys on that day. The full report can be found on our Current Issues page but here are some of the highlights that help us understand our guests’ needs so we can make programming decisions that help them navigate their way through an increasingly expensive city:
Age: After a 2 year decrease, the 31 to 45 year age range increased by 7%, while the 45 – 54 age range decreased by 8%. There is a continuing and steady yearly increase in the 73+ age range.
Gender: Guests continue to be predominantly male.
Race/Ethnicity: Percentage of guests identifying as African American decreased by 3% while percentage identifying as “Multi-ethnic” increased by 5%.
Employment: 73% of guests who answered this question are unemployed. Of the 55 responders who are employed and answered the question about type of employment, 58% are working part time and 67% have been employed for longer than 3 months.
Living Status: Street homelessness declined by 4% since 2017 but is still higher than the previous years. Shelter Homelessness remained consistent at 21% while guests temporarily staying with someone else increased by 3%. In total, half of our guests are homeless and when accounting for temporary stays with others, the percentage rises to 66%.
Homelessness & Employment: 21% of our homeless guests are employed.
Education: Many of our guests are highly educated: 22% have attained a college degree and 18% have college credits.
Voice of a Volunteer…Maureen
“The whole staff is beautiful. Here, it is so warm and friendly,” soup kitchen volunteer Maureen explained recently when asked what keeps her coming back almost every weekday to volunteer at Holy Apostles. An “empty nester” she moved to the New York metro area a little over a year ago when her kids were all grown. It had been a life-long dream to experience the hustle and bustle of this great city, and she didn’t want to put her dreams off any longer. A deeply spiritual woman, Maureen has found the soup kitchen to be just the right place to make a difference in the lives of others, while also making new friends in a safe and welcoming environment.
“I wanted to help people so I did a Google search and found Holy Apostles,” she recalls. “I fell in love it right away.”
An aspiring children’s book author and former Sunday school teacher, Maureen has plans to publish a book on Amazon, and has even joined the Writers’ Workshop on occasion.
But on most weekday mornings, you can find Maureen is in our prep kitchen, busily preparing up to 230 brown bagged lunches to be delivered off-site to homeless individuals in Penn Station, and to food-insecure children who live in homeless shelters and attend a nearby public school. “I make the sandwiches and add whatever is available that day… like, apples, fruit and yogurt.”
Maureen also laughs that she’s never been very good in the kitchen. “Now I’ve had a chance to learn from the cooks here how everything is done,” she says. “And I’m more competent in the kitchen!”
Farm to Tray
The soup kitchen honored Google for their years of generous support. In 2018, in addition to regular volunteer support and their participation as a Farm to Tray culinary partner, Google gave the largest single corporate gift in the history of Farm to Tray.
“We are so very grateful for our sponsors and chefs that give so much to make this annual event a special and memorable evening and to Google, our honoree, whose generous support helped to make this our largest fundraiser ever,” said John-Harvard Reid, Associate Executive Director.
The event kicked off at 6 PM with a VIP garden party hosted by Gotham Burger Social Club. San Matteo Pizzeria e Cucina welcomed soup kitchen supporters with pizza fresh from the wood-burning oven. They were then treated to Prime Rib Roast and Chocolate Mousse from Chef Dominick Pepe of The Group NYC and a whiskey tasting sponsored by Michters Whiskey. Honest Tea and the Zico Coconut Water bar provided cold refreshments, and Kite-Hill offered a tasting of non-dairy cheese with wine pairing.
The main event began at 7 PM and featured tasting menus, beverages, and live musical entertainment by students from Avenues: The World School. Eleven chefs from some of NYC’s top restaurants presented a selection of small plates, cooked on-site and inspired by the soup kitchen’s approach to using fresh, local ingredients and sustainable food practices. Tasting stations featured dishes like Cauliflower al Pastor Tacos from Chef Kim Huskey of [email protected], and Parmesan Crackers with Straciatella, Shaved Asparagus, Lemon, Sea Salt, and Aleppo from Chef Ginger Pierce of Jams. Other new and returning culinary partners were:
Preston Madson, Bellwether
Robert Cho, Kimchi Smoke
Laurence Edelman, Left Bank
Raffaele Volpe, San Matteo Pizza
Caroline Schiff, ParadigmSchiff
This year, as part of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen’s ambitious Zero Waste Strategy, all food was served using compostable plates and utensils that will be turned to soil through a partnership with the New York City Department of Sanitation.
Fran Barrett, Inter-Agency Coordinator for Nonprofit Organizations at NYS Governor’s Office, presented The Ben Tabatchnick Award to Kim Huskey, Regional Food Services Manager at Google New York, who accepted the award on behalf of Google.
The Ben Tabatchnick Award is named after Ben Tabatchnick, a long-time friend and supporter of the soup kitchen and CEO of Tabatchnick Fine Foods, who used his skills and knowledge to fight hunger systemically, locally, and personally. The award honors individuals in the community for their outstanding commitment to combating hunger and assisting others towards self-sufficiency in New York City. Ben’s wife, Rita Tabatchnick, and their grown children were also in attendance. The Tabatchnick family carries on Ben’s philanthropic work and have been long-term donors and champions of the soup kitchen.
Interim Executive Director Bishop Andrew R. St. John also took the stage to introduce incoming Executive Director Mother Anna Pearson, who began her tenure at Holy Apostles on June 1, 2018.
Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Wedding bells are ringing for Tony n’ Tina!
When: October 13, 7 pm
Where: Church of the Holy Apostles, 296 Ninth Avenue
Why: A special revival benefit performance of this classic off-Broadway hit, starring many of the original cast members who are generously donating their time and talent for this special occasion!
Click here to purchase tickets.