Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Case Manager Appointment

In employment, fiction, Poetry, Uncategorized on February 22, 2018 at 4:49 pm

 

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Clock ticking loudly, half past nine

Buzz, buzz, beep goes the printer, not dot matrix

The shot of the gun on the gator on the TV

In the other room

Further away, but louder than you

 

My heart beating loudly, tapping fingers on the desk

Android phone beeps and trills

Intercom blares, clients see your case managers

Vocal clicks of the keyboard

But still louder than you

 

But I’m supposed to pay attention to you

And you’re the one who’s supposed to help me

Get off that chair

Find a job worthwhile

And find something to sleep in better than a chair

Or car or shelter bed that only costs 30% of my income

 

And try to find a place

All my furniture rests on your shoulders

But you’re quieter than a church mouse

Maybe all my life is just disorganized noise

And you’re not worth listening to

Maybe the thoughts in my head are just louder than you

 

By Thomas Clarke

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David’s Story

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2018 at 3:27 pm

David's story

Homeless and unemployed for over eight months, soup kitchen guest David has been through a great deal recently. But his faith, along with support from the soup kitchen, have helped him stay hopeful and strong in the face of hardship. A trained graphic designer, David lost his job unexpectedly when his former business partner betrayed him, leaving him broke and unable to pay rent.

His financial troubles worsened the already chronic family conflict he lived with, and before he knew it, he found himself without a place to live. For a while he was able to stay with friends, moving from place to place while working a part-time custodial job. But when they could no longer host him he ended up on the streets. “I grew up in New York and heard stories about the shelter system, so I didn’t want to go to a shelter,” he recalls. “I would sleep on the subway, or the bus, anywhere I could find.”

In addition to the practical stresses of surviving on the street, David also struggled with the shame and cultural stigma attached to homelessness. During this time he still went to work reliably, but because he was unable to shower regularly and keep up with haircuts, his coworkers began to suspect he was homeless and gossiped about him.

“I was being harassed,” he says. “It was a bad situation.” Doing everything possible to keep his job, he worked late nights off the clock while managers turned a blind eye. Despite his efforts however, he was eventually let go. His future seemed bleak, but David, who is a Christian, had faith that God was looking out for him. “I knew that He would get me out,” he says. “I just wasn’t sure how.”

Help came one night in the form of an outreach worker who approached David in a train station and offered to help him enroll in a transitional program to find housing. But first he needed to have a statement from a social worker proving he was homeless. That’s how he first came to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

The social services team was “very positive and professional,” David says. The counselors helped him right away with a haircut voucher, “the first haircut I’d had in months.” They also gave him a list of other resources and services he could access nearby, and Metro Cards to travel to doctors’ appointments.

“The meals were so helpful,” he says, remembering the first few times he ate here. “I thought, these people really care. They’re not just serving anything. It’s a good, quality meal.”

David has a loyal companion in his fiancée of several years, who has stayed by his side even through his recent struggles. Today, he’s already in the second step in a transitional housing program and hopes to be placed in an apartment soon. He is determined to one day return to his art practice and go back into business again.

“I love and appreciate Holy Apostles for the goodness it does for people,” David says. “It helps us all in so many more ways than one.”

 

William’s Story

In Soup Kitchen Stories, Uncategorized on December 18, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Homelessness can happen to anyone, something 71 year old soup kitchen guest William discovered this past summer.

“For the first time in my life, I’m homeless,” he said in September of 2017.“It’s been a month and a half since I lost my apartment.”

“I always worked, ever since I was 18 years old…until a couple of years ago,” he said. For most of his career, he was a shipping and receiving clerk. In his later years he worked in the mail room at a New York City homeless shelter.

Because of his work in the homeless shelter, William did know that he could find a meal at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. He wasn’t expecting his hope to be restored too though, when he first sat down with one of our social services counselors.  “She told me I was eligible for Medicare, housing and food stamps,” he said brightly. “And she even helped me complete the application on-line…I never knew about all those things.”

When he retired, William had accrued a small 401k plan, but sadly, he developed heart and lung problems that landed him in the hospital. He still needs regular monitoring, treatment and medication for these conditions. “The medical bills wiped out my 401k, so now I only get a little social security,” he explained.  “That’s why I lost my apartment.”

An only child and the last remaining member of his family alive, William packed up his belongings and put them in storage in a friend’s basement late this summer. A good friend of his told him he should stay at a shelter but, he says with determination, “I don’t want to go to there, not if I can help it.” So for now, the 71 year old sleeps on a park bench on the upper West Side.

“I don’t know how to be homeless,” he told me, “At my age, it’s not something I’m used to doing.”

The soup kitchen has quickly become a refuge from the harsh realities of street homelessness, and a place to figure out his next steps. “I get my mail here now, and I’m taking care of business. It’s a chance to take care of my health, and have a few peaceful moments.”

But, he says, he’s been longing for the comforts of the his old apartment, the home he knew for years where he would often host holiday celebrations with this friends.

“Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday,” William recalls. “I love to cook, and especially to cook for my friends. I’m used to having my own kitchen, and home cooked meals.”

To help us continue to serve guests like William, click here.