Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for March, 2016|Monthly archive page

Maria’s Story

In Soup Kitchen Stories, Uncategorized on March 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm


SK Stories 2016-maria

When 57 year old Maria was in her early twenties she survived a tragedy few can imagine: losing  her parents, her sister and brother to gun violence.

So, after decades of just getting by, carrying the burden of trauma and grief, her recent job loss from an Atlantic City Casino came as just another small hurdle get over, “You know, these things happen. You just have to figure out what’s next,” she says, brightly. Moving back to Queens, where she’d spent a majority of her life, she enrolled in a Back-to-Work program that’s located near the soup kitchen.

“I heard you could get a meal here,” she says, “So I stopped in after the program one day and I’ve been coming here since.”

For Maria, who has no savings, getting to and from the Back-to-Work program is expensive, but, she said, the hot meals from our kitchen and the MetroCards from our social services program make the daily commute much more manageable.

“The volunteers are always so compassionate, and I know I can get at least one good meal every day.It’s always a full meal, and very healthy, and  I do love getting to have a cup of coffee before my ride back home,” she says, relaxing for a few minutes with her hands wrapped around a warm cup.

The impact of the tragedy Maria survived  has of course made an indelible print on her life but despite all the trauma she endured, Maria  somehow chose early on to keep her feet on the ground, and live life with gratitude and dignity.

“I’ve always had to get by on my own wits, and not rely on anyone else,” she says, “but the people here are so kind, they really want to help – and I can’t tell you much that makes  me feel very, very blessed.”




In fiction, Stories on March 18, 2016 at 2:48 pm




                    James Small lives with his grandmother in the projects uptown. So one night she asked him to go the store to get a few items. She gave him the money.

On the way outside he met on the stairs his friend Herbie. So they both went to the store. He made his purchase, and he got two Coca Colas, one for himself and the other for his friend.

They took his grandmother her stuff, and told her they were going for a walk in Central Park. So she said, “Go ahead, but remember that tomorrow is a school day.”

He said, “Yes.”

They started to walk in the Park, and had got about a quarter of a mile. They saw a man running towards them. He ran into the bushes to avoid them. They thought nothing of it, so they continued their conversation about basketball.

All of a sudden they saw a pair of headlights coming towards them. It was a police car.  So it stopped.  Two cops got out and started frisking them. Then they handcuffed them and threw them in the back seat of the squad car. They drove further into the park, where they saw an EMS van with a woman, who had been bleeding, with the EMS workers attending to her.

So they pushed the workers aside, grabbed James by the arm, and asked her, “Is it him?”

She pointed at James, and said, “Yes, that is the one who raped me.”

Both boys were arrested that same night. James’s grandma was called, and she went to the station house about 3 in the morning. There was no bail for them. They stayed in jail for about three months before there was a trial.

All this time Grandmother knew he was innocent. She stood by her grandchild and his friend. DNA from the scene, the DA said, could not be found. There was DNA from the boys taken after, but none available from the victim from the night of the crime.

My question to you is, what do you think happened to the DNA?

By the way, the boys were freed, finally, not because there was no evidence, but because earlier that night the police arrested a man walking suspiciously down 5th Avenue, who had scratch marks all over his face. He could not account for how he got them.


As usual, fact, or fiction.

I asked you before, what did you think happened to the DNA?

Give up? This is my story, and I’m going to tell you my version.

When the cops saw the man walking very fast down 5th Avenue, they stopped him and they noticed scratches on his face. He broke down and said he was on his way to his friend, a doctor, to get a tetanus shot, because he just raped his ex-girlfriend in Central Park.

In other words he was confessing to the crime. They arrested him before they put him in the squad car.

They called it in. At the station house the Lieutenant who took the called told his Captain they had a problem. The Captain said, “How do?” The Lieutenant replied, “Because we arrested two teenagers for the same crime.”

The Captain said, “How can that be?”

The Lieutenant replied, “EMS was in the area when the officers came upon the boys. Captain, what are we going to do, Sir?”

The Captain’s response was, “Nothing. We will wait and see what happens.”

The Lieutenant said, “Captain…”

Before the Lieutenant could get out another word, the Captain said, “When the crime scene evidence comes in, bring it to me. I will lock it in my drawer.”

“What about the two boys?”

The Captain said, “They are our guests until the trial. Remember, our guests, give them whatever they want. Leave the cell door open, but they cannot leave until the trial.”

“Captain, this is not good.”

“Lieutenant, that is why I am the Captain. There you have it.”

 George Cousins

Barbara’s Story

In Friendship, Guest stories on March 4, 2016 at 5:39 pm

SK Stories 2016-Barbara

At 72 years of age, Barbara’s limited retirement income comes from two sources:  social security and food stamps. She rents a small room from a  friend of hers but, she says, “I don’t really have kitchen access so I come here where I know I can have a full, real meal.”

“I worked all my life until I retired a few years ago,” she says. But with minimum wage jobs in retail and office reception, Barbara was never able to put enough away for retirement, living paycheck to paycheck in her home in Queens.

With no immediate family in the area for support, the sit down meals at the soup kitchen give Barbara a lot more than physical nutrition. “It’s like eating at the family table, here,” she says. For Barbara, the soup kitchen family gives her a joyful sense of kinship, and she enjoys the friendship of other regular guests who find nourishment for the body and the soul at our dining tables.


In memoir on March 4, 2016 at 3:38 pm


                Seeing a picture of someone pondering this wonderful machine allegedly invented by Mr. Edison makes me think of many things. What comes to mind first is the fact that some now say a Frenchman was the first one to record the human voice way back in the early 1860s.  A recording exists of a young French girl singing Claire DeLune. Whatever the case may be this technological advance spawned an industry that I have had a complicated relationship with for years.

As a young person I spent  much time listening to records . By the age of 14, I was obsessed with jazz. This fascination let to my choosing music as a career. Perhaps career is the wrong word for a world ridden with brigands, mountebanks, psychopathic journeymen and a few geniuses.

I’ve worked with all of these types. Often I wonder about the provenance of my musical obsession. Perhaps this is the wrong thing to do but then being involved in a noble art that is often at variance with the harsh vagaries of the music business provides you with plenty of time for contemplation.

Do I sound like a chronic complainer, a petulant overgrown crybaby who is far from happy with his station in life?

Anyway let’s get to the facts. My first recordings were 45s, (remember them?)   with local blues artists when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I was a rhythm guitarist on these sessions. I don’t remember how much I made but do know that some of these recordings wound up on Juke boxes found in some of the dives I worked. I remember seeing someone smoke pot for the first time in my life during some of these early record dates .These cannibis laced sessions were never turned into records.

I was a very young, unworldly, somewhat nerdish young man who was just beginning to acquire a knowledge of what the life of a “real” professional musician was like. Many local bluesmen had no use for Jazz.

The whole drama of the human condition could be encapsulated in the framework of 12 bars. Well let’s be charitable and say many of these performers had a somewhat cavalier sense of time. They were not unlike country-blues Einsteins who had an awareness of time being relative. This perception was the end result of an amalgam of soulfull expression and ineptitude. You merely played with them and hoped to get paid at the end of the night.

Of course the blues is as much about sensibility as it is form. In fact the blues is the first thing any serious student of Jazz learns how to play.

-Bern Nix