Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Edward’s Story

In Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, Soup Kitchen Stories, Volunteer Stories on July 10, 2014 at 6:34 pm

edward

“A man makes better decisions on a full stomach,” says Edward White, a  regular volunteer at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen since 2011. “You can stop and think, at least for a minute.”

Edward, who has a graduate degree in criminal psychology, says he knows the feeling of homelessness, even if he was only on the verge of it.  Five years ago he suffered a heart attack which not only put him in the hospital for seven days but also put him over $100,000 in debt. It was a scary time for him during which he turned to many different organizations for help. Unfortunately many of them turned him away. He can still recall what these obstacles were to finding help:

“Because I wasn’t already in the system: I wasn’t on parole, I didn’t have HIV,  I didn’t have children, I wasn’t in drug or alcohol treatment, I’d never stayed at a homeless shelter….I didn’t qualify for a lot of programs,” he lists off the reasons he was given. “I know…the feeling of homelessness. You have so much stuff. What’s going to happen to it? It’s a  big weight”.

Edward’s  introduction to the soup kitchen was as a guest with about twenty other people from the F.E.G.S Back to Work program. He decided a return solo trip volunteering was the right thing to do and might help take his mind off his own issues.  He  remembers how  talking with volunteer coordinator Brooke Wiese early on in his volunteer career at Holy Apostles changed his outlook.”You’ve got some brilliant people here. The worst part when you’re homeless is there’s no one to talk to. Then you start  talking to yourself, or drinking alcohol, making foolish decisions.”

Since then Edward has racked up an impressive  1000 volunteering hours at the at soup kitchen and become a  familiar face on the serving line.

Today, Edward is an adored uncle to many nieces and nephews he  has helped raise. Two of his nieces took him to Atlantic City for Father’s Day.  He also speaks adoringly about his long time girl friend  “who” he says “was with me at my lowest.”  Edward now has regular employment and he’s found a permanent place to live – somewhere he can call home.  He is grateful for how Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen has supported him through all these transitions, providing nutritious meals as well as Metrocards when he has needed them and other support services.

Edward  credits the “teamwork at Holy Apostles”, as well as family and friends, for keeping his hope alive throughout it all. Because of his own experience, Edward knows hard times can happen to anyone, and that’s why he goes out of his way to talk with guests coming through.

“People get caught in categories…everybody gets at least one opportunity to change their life….you’ve got to do your homework.”

For Edward, this “homework” has been: showing up, giving back and reaching out to others to help them as he was helped. And we feel lucky that he’s chosen to do that here.

 

 

 

 

 

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