Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen


In Friendship, Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, Prose, Soup Kitchen Stories on December 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm


by Ronnie Eisen

In 1977, I had entered the shelter system for approximately one month. Christmas was approaching, and I could not bear the idea that I must spend this day in the women’s shelter. I was broke and completely miserable.

I went to the phone booth and dialed the toll-free number for battered women. They told me they had room for me at Mother Theresa’s, and I could move in on Saturday afternoon. You can’t imagine how happy I was to be going away from the shelter.

I carefully packed my few belongings, leaving a few things behind for my new friends, Crystal and Mickey. I never told my counselor where I was going. I left him a note, thanking him for all his help. Then I just left, pretending to be going to the laundry.

I rode the train to Harlem with great happiness. The convent was even better than I thought it would be. We had no Christmas tree yet, but Mother put one up and let us all decorate it. We helped cook all the meals and cleaned the place. For once, there was no smoking and no violence. I really enjoyed the peace and quiet.

But then, the annoying thing happened. It was Christmas Day, and Mother told us we had to leave at eight in the morning and not come back until four in the afternoon. I had gotten sick at the party the night before, and I felt awful. I had no money at all and nowhere to go. Having never been in Manhattan on Christmas Day before, I imagined nothing would be open, I would freeze and die.

Suddenly, I remembered a story in the newspaper about Holy Apostles Church. I got a copy of the Tablet and checked the address. A Nigerian woman told me they would be serving Christmas dinner there. She too had no place to go. We made our way down from Harlem in the snow. We attended church at Holy Apostles and then went to the meal.

Everyone was nice to us, and several men gave us referrals to other soup kitchens that I have been going to ever since. I thank God for all the nice people I have met, and all the help they have given me.

My friend was able to reunite with her sister and find work in America. I’m still homeless, but I do work now and go to Holy Apostles whenever I can.


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