Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Edward’s Story

In Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, The worst of times, Uncategorized on February 19, 2015 at 7:41 pm

“My problem’s unemployment,” says Edward, who’s been coming to the soup kitchen for the past three years.  “I don’t have a drug problem or a disability, it’s just really hard to find a job.”

Edward, who says he’s close to turning 50, goes to job fairs regularly where he “sees the same people [applying for jobs] over and over again. It’s disheartening.”

Having grown up in Harlem, Edward spent several years in Mexico after spending some time with his extended family in San Diego.  It was in Tijuana where he bought a small restaurant. Thinking he would follow in his father’s footsteps as a chef, he was thrilled with the idea that he could afford this investment after overhearing the seller pitch the restaurant to another potential buyer. “It was only $279.00 a month, and that other person couldn’t afford it.” Edward seized on what he thought was an opportunity of a lifetime.

But things didn’t go so smoothly for Edward once his business was up and running.  After failing to complete the local business permit processes he ended up getting a visit from the “Federales”, the Mexican equivalent of the FBI.  Without adequate legal counsel, Edward  found himself in jail  –  followed by deportation back  to the U.S.A. He had lost everything.

Edward made his way back to New York where he knew he would be facing homelessness and unemployment. During those first few months of transition, he noticed the line outside of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. He got to talking with the people waiting in line and found out that not only did the soup kitchen provide a meal, it offered its guests necessities  like clothes and razors.

Edward has spent most of the last three years balancing his time between looking for regular, full time employment and getting  temporary, part time jobs.  He says, “You know, I could get a job today that would pay a lot of money but, you know that would involve crime. I’m almost 50 years old! It’s not the time to go start getting into the prison system.”

He muses about the people he’s known who’ve made money illegally through drugs or prostitution, spending their lives  in and out of jail.  He then makes an interesting point, “You can have dreams and ideals and high ethical standards for yourself and you don’t think you’ll ever do stuff like that. Lots of people with a lot of money don’t think they’d ever do that kind of stuff. But when your stomach is kicking your back out, that’s not so easy.”

Today, Edward is living in a small place in Brooklyn. He comes into Manhattan to  continue  his search for steady, full time employment and to stop by the soup kitchen so his own stomach doesn’t kick his back out.

“I remember being a kid and seeing the lines outside soup kitchens and thinking that everyone in there was lazy. But a lot of days, just having a meal, or getting a razor, stops me from making the wrong decisions. When you have nothing, a hot meal is a blessing.”  Coming from a former restaurateur, that means something!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: