Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for December, 2015|Monthly archive page

Anticipation Realized, and Over

In Food, Poetry on December 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

pollo moderno

The elation

Not from a placebo

You know there was a promenade in heaven, last night

It seem cocaine and Mary danced into the early summer morning

6 am and balmy

Frustration never had a chance,

Not even an opening when all the guests disappeared

As quickly as they arrived,

Instead, the real moment of reflection and longing,

Thick in the air


A gazebo, happenstance

13th century inspired and ornate,

At this time time, fresh as fruit from neighboring trees,

New as technology,

Welcoming as a motel with new management,

Instrinsic to the fall…

If you know what I mean.


Random in the mansion of life,

But at the time, an urgent matter at my hands,

Ya know, hindsight is 20/20,

It was a blessing masquerading as convention…

I didn’t have to break all the rules to feel alive for this


This treat,

These delicacies,

A 3-course meal that costs much,

But not appreciated enough.

A travesty if this wasn’t the last meal of the disciples,

And dare I recommend, if nature created life as such,

That babies wiggle out from the mother, crying for

Pollo Moderno.

I was a waiter in my own world,

With knowledge of life and nearby planets…

Soul de Cuba, and there’s only one other in Hawaii.

I get it!

Like how I get that when eating good food –

Really –anything beyond delicious –

God has to be dining across from me,

If he isn’t the chef.

Yellow rice, has to be a vice.

Black beans with access to the pickiest eater.

Sweet plantains on the side

like Bodyguards…—guardians.

And God Damnit that chicken breast…

Golden like California, and crisp as its coast.

You can’t have the outfit without the hat.

The salsa –diced onions, chopped mango….white castilllo rum,

One can indulge in what having to be 21.

There are a couple of other ingredients in the sals,

But myth and mystery are fascinating –

Maybe I don’t have to know.

It was a blessing masquerading as convention.

A friend of mine hooked me up with that job.

I quite a long while ago, but that Polo Moderno changed my life.

So in a sense ……foods do such a thing.



Travis’s Story

In employment, Food, Guest stories, Soup Kitchen Stories, Volunteer Stories on December 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Travis chopping food 2

Recently unemployed and homeless, Travis moved to New York to look for new opportunities. He’s come a long way since living on a reservation with his former wife in Arizona, before their divorce forced him back east where he lived  with his father in Tennessee for many years.

“I learned on the reservation how important it is to take care of others, especially your elders,” Travis recalls.

Now at age 45, Travis has a wealth of work history in auto mechanics, welding, forklift operation, cab driving and bartending. But at about the same time that he lost his job as a forklift operator in a warehouse last year, his father decided to retire in Illinois, moving to a rural area with few job possibilities for Travis.  When looking at his options, his work history and his dream of studying culinary arts,  it seemed to Travis that he would have a better chance of making a living and pursuing his goals in New York than anywhere else.

Without a job to start off with however, Travis quickly ran out of money and found himself homeless and hungry. He found a local shelter where he can sleep, and it was there that his roommate told him he could find a hot meal at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

But Travis didn’t want to just come here for a meal. “I want to earn my keep,” he says, pointing at the pounds of Plantains in front of him. Several mornings a week now, Travis is one of the first volunteers to arrive, and he gets right to work chopping vegetables and fruit in the kitchen, preparing food that will be served to about a thousand guests between 10:30 and 12:30. “This gives me the chance to learn a little bit about the culinary trade, and be able to eat.”  After all the guests have had their meal, Travis joins the other volunteers for lunch, a meal that gives him the strength to continue his job search and pursue his dreams.

“I like to serve,” Travis says. “It’s what I do.”

32 Flavors of Ice Cream

In Food, holidays, memoir, Prose on December 18, 2015 at 2:54 pm


32 Flavors of IceCream

“32 flavors and then some.” Song and slogan tells take of tastes fixed in forever. Perhaps Ben & Jerry’s have split. Still either/or and thousands more can access the pages of molecular exactitudes to make Crunchy Carmal Cone a heavenly thing.

After Jerry has hung a “for sale” placard on the lawn, and Ben has taken the pooch, I will  be able to purchase a pint – if only on “for a limited time only” anniversary dates.

Those anniversaries never commemorate my longings for those lost, nor could they honor those recipes.

There is a  piece of paper filed, or even an index card to indicate how many cloves my grandmother put in her pidgeon peas, and they were added at the point of or just before bursting?

At holiday times the only dessert was Ms. Lowe’s fruitcake. Not a dry, bland colorful rock. Rather, a deep brown, solidified pudding on fruits left steeping in wine and finished with whatever else goes into a cake, and palatable amounts of Rivers rhum. This was a meal closer, months in the making, with payment made not solely in cash, but with barters of spices and booze. No last minute rush to the market, but phone calls and scheduling of meet ups and pick ups of this tasty treat.

Even my mother, though no great cultivator of cuisine, and still with me in this world, no one can ever replicate those scrambled eggs.

With three simple ingredients – eggs, butter, salt – I come close.

I likely will be unwilling to use enough butter to let the eggs swim freely. Instead I will leave exact replications to the scientists while I dream of my loved ones while gorging on ice cream.

-Stephanie Lawlor

Volunteer Story: Boris

In Friendship, Love, Soup Kitchen Stories, Volunteer Stories on December 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Borisjudi K

At 71, and living with Alzheimer’s disease, Boris has been part of the fabric of the soup kitchen for many years. He and his wife Judi are generous donors, and Judi fondly remembers Boris volunteering on holidays as far back as 1989.

“When he retired six years ago, and before his diagnosis, he decided to volunteer here every weekday,” she says. Judi worked beside her husband in their jewelry company for decades, and continues the family tradition with her own jewelry design company now.

“Boris was well loved and respected in the industry,” she states, recalling his years of building up a successful business after moving to Manhattan from Europe. Judi, a graduate of nearby F.I.T., met Boris through his uncle, a colleague of hers in the apparel business.

Now, Judi’s  grateful for the soup kitchen’s role in Boris’s life. “The progression has been slow, yet he can still do so much, and you give him things to do. He never wants to miss a day of volunteering. For him, it’s a purpose, this is his work.”

Boris enjoys getting the silverware and napkins ready for our daily meal where he’s often engaged in lively conversation with other volunteers, helps new volunteers with their aprons, and delivers drinks to the pianist of the day. “I just want him to be happy and get to do as much as he can do,” Judy adds, thankful the staff has become like a second family to Boris, and will call her with any concerns.

Sky Divers

In Love, Poetry on December 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Food for the soul


Sweety, how can I experience withdrawal from a high I never climbed?

Ecstacy, —-average  – the kind brutes and even giants are weary of.

Nirvana in an ethereal country, who fertile land we eventually descend

Has no slack like a trampoline, we’ll walk when permitted and contemplate fate

But now we’ll take the duty of trees,

Or would you rather serve as moving portraits for skyscrapers

Like 8x10s on the wall at home,

Art over our heads,

Divinity or perfect freedom?

The ultimate embrace of nothingness,

A reminder of this oneness philosophers praise,

As versus gravity

Hold my hand – an exchange of love at its finest

Where I can be you, and you could be me,

They say we both be crazy.


Charlese’s Story

In Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, Soup Kitchen Stories, The worst of times, Uncategorized on December 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Stories -charlese

Homelessness can happen to anyone. Just ask 64 year old Charlese, who lived in the same Upper West Side apartment for almost 40 years, since before her marriage. Her husband owned a beauty salon which Charlese become the manager of, a position she held for 24 years. But when their marriage broke down, Charlese lost her job as well.

“Because I was his wife, I wasn’t able to get any unemployment benefits,” Charlese explains. “He moved out and I wasn’t able to manage the rent alone.

Just as Charlese was forced to tap into her life savings, a new landlord increased her rent dramatically. Her only living family was her elderly father, too frail to support her. Without any income, Charlese was evicted in August, 2013 after she had depleted all her life savings.  Then next thing she knew, she found herself homeless, afraid and alone, sleeping in the Amtrak waiting room at Penn Station, or riding the subway. Without anyone else to turn to, she turned to the soup kitchen. She smiles as she recalls her first meal here.

“I remember the first day I came here.  I felt so peaceful, I felt at home.”

Charlese has spent many days here, even during her father’s illness, when she cared for him despite her own challenges. She’s come here to grieve his recent passing and she lights up when she talks about him.”He was a veteran and a boxer – he taught me how to fight, in every sense of the word.”

Fighting is what Charlese is doing—to stay sane … to stay safe … and to get her life back. This spring she shared her story of homelessness and the hope she found at the soup kitchen at the annual spring fundraiser, From Farm to Tray. “I’m so grateful to everyone, especially the social services staff members who have given me hope at times when I literally felt like I couldn’t go on.”

Today, Charlese has secured a part time job at a call center and lives frugally with a friend to whom she pays rent. While she struggles to  to cover all of her expenses on low wages, she’s determined to never have to rely on a shelter. She says simply, “The food here and the community here has helped me preserve my dignity and spirit.”




In Poetry, Uncategorized on December 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

let's all go to the lobby Craving


A Blue and new Saturday

Has arrived and I’m feeling

A desire to eat a fat fresh

Beef hot dog fresh from the

Meat market


Covered over with hot mustard

Just in time for the movie classics

With a pretty actress like

Veronica Lake to along with it

A can of baked beans makes

The perfect little fit


I can’t stop eating these hot

Dogs – perhaps it’s my desire

For Veronica instead taking

Me away at the same time


Oh no, now I am feeling a

Crave  for Vanilla ice cream

Or maybe it’s just Veronica’s

Long-blond beautiful hair putting

A taste in my mouth —

-Jeffrey Hardy