Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

William’s Story

In Soup Kitchen Stories, Uncategorized on December 18, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Homelessness can happen to anyone, something 71 year old soup kitchen guest William discovered this past summer.

“For the first time in my life, I’m homeless,” he said in September of 2017.“It’s been a month and a half since I lost my apartment.”

“I always worked, ever since I was 18 years old…until a couple of years ago,” he said. For most of his career, he was a shipping and receiving clerk. In his later years he worked in the mail room at a New York City homeless shelter.

Because of his work in the homeless shelter, William did know that he could find a meal at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. He wasn’t expecting his hope to be restored too though, when he first sat down with one of our social services counselors.  “She told me I was eligible for Medicare, housing and food stamps,” he said brightly. “And she even helped me complete the application on-line…I never knew about all those things.”

When he retired, William had accrued a small 401k plan, but sadly, he developed heart and lung problems that landed him in the hospital. He still needs regular monitoring, treatment and medication for these conditions. “The medical bills wiped out my 401k, so now I only get a little social security,” he explained.  “That’s why I lost my apartment.”

An only child and the last remaining member of his family alive, William packed up his belongings and put them in storage in a friend’s basement late this summer. A good friend of his told him he should stay at a shelter but, he says with determination, “I don’t want to go to there, not if I can help it.” So for now, the 71 year old sleeps on a park bench on the upper West Side.

“I don’t know how to be homeless,” he told me, “At my age, it’s not something I’m used to doing.”

The soup kitchen has quickly become a refuge from the harsh realities of street homelessness, and a place to figure out his next steps. “I get my mail here now, and I’m taking care of business. It’s a chance to take care of my health, and have a few peaceful moments.”

But, he says, he’s been longing for the comforts of the his old apartment, the home he knew for years where he would often host holiday celebrations with this friends.

“Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday,” William recalls. “I love to cook, and especially to cook for my friends. I’m used to having my own kitchen, and home cooked meals.”

To help us continue to serve guests like William, click here.

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