In Uncategorized on March 28, 2017 at 9:42 am
Leucio’s sense of humor is as bright as the orange dress shirt he wore the day he stopped by to tell his story. At 61, he’s been coming to the soup kitchen for almost twenty years. He first came for lunch in 1998, when he was referred by a nearby support program for adults with disabilities that no longer had funding to serve food.
“I thought a soup kitchen was something from the 1800s, where they just hand out soup,” says Leucio. “I didn’t realize you could get a full meal.”
Leucio has Cerebral Palsy and now relies on Social Security Disability payments to make ends meet. He used to work part-time at Bronx State Hospital, where he taught a cooking class to patients, but his social security checks are now his sole source of income. He has a studio apartment through the Section 8 program – “I live with three people, he jokes, “me, myself, and I.” Coming to the soup kitchen is an opportunity to socialize with fellow guests, and the meals helps him survive on a very limited income. “I just don’t have enough money to buy food,” he says.
In addition to the soup kitchen’s healthy lunches, Leucio has found nourishment of a different kind through the Writers’ Workshop and still takes pride in the story he wrote that was published in one of the workshop anthologies. Having struggled with a learning disability and graduating high school reading at a fourth-grade level, Leucio says that encouragement from the workshop instructors gave him confidence he never had in school.
“I never wrote before the Writers’ Workshop,” he says. “It never went through my mind that I was good. Today my therapist read my story and she told me it was brilliant!”
You can read a poem by Leucio in Food for the Soul: Selections from the Holy Apostles Writers Workshop (available on Amazon) as well as several pieces on our blog.
In Uncategorized on March 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm
The first time grace was visited upon me was in mid-November. I actually had a paying gig. All the elements came together in a highly congenial and efficacious manner that can be described as grace. These fleeting moments of grace are perhaps the primary factor in sustaining my haphazard career in music. That frisson, that narcotic-like blast of euphoria that comes from playing an instrument in what could be considered a musical manner is what compels the foolhardy among us to become professional musicians. The band was amenable to my wishes and played well despite a short time for rehearsal. I knew the keyboard player and drummer. We’ve played together on previous occasions and share the same musical philosophy; you create music in the moment.
The whole thing is an existential tightrope walk. Think about the Flying Wallendas or Evil Knievel trying to traverse the canyon on his motorcycle.
The audience was fairly large and responsive to our musical endeavors. I think this positive response provided the creative stimulus needed to give a good performance. A good performance should provide a sense of communion. The audience and a performer merge. There is something seemingly mystical about it. Maybe this is a form of spirituality that is inherent in artistic activity no matter how base or magnanimous. Of course, this is my take on the evening’s events. In any event, that feeling, that grace or whatever it is provides me with something that makes music and music-making the paramount concern in my rather tatterdemalion life. Of course, writing is a fugitive enterprise and number two concern. Despite these two realms of grace, the pressure continues unabated. The mundane terror of daily life always reasserts itself when the gig is over. Bills must be paid; relationships have to be tended to; laundry must be done.
In Uncategorized on March 17, 2017 at 6:01 pm
Farm to Tray 2017
To support the work that Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen provides every weekday, please join us for our annual food sustainable gala event, Farm to Tray. www.farmtotray.org
Click on the photo to be redirected to a short Farm to Tray video.