Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for the ‘employment’ Category

Did We Make Any Money?

In employment, Prose, Uncategorized on January 10, 2017 at 8:12 pm

money

We did.

First, we invested in things that had done well for the last couple of years.  Not individual stocks, because we wanted to be broadly diversified, to protect against single-company risks.  Mutual funds, offered by the providers of my girlfriend’s accounts.

Morningstar.com, a company that provides information about mutual funds and the stocks they invest in, classifies companies in two ways: by their market capitalization, the current “paper value”, combined price of all their shares, into large-caps, mid-caps, and small-caps; and into “growth” companies that are expected to have growing profits and growing share prices, and “value” companies whose shares are cheap compared to what they “should” cost.  (“Value investing” is a whole science started by Benjamin Graham and followed by Warren Buffett.  “The value is what it’s worth; the price is what you pay for it.”)

Stock mutual funds can be “growth” funds that invest in growth companies, “value” funds, or “blend” funds that invest in both.  This classification, together with the other, gives rise to a 3-by-3 table, with cells, pigeon holes, with names like “small-cap growth” or “large-cap value”.  Funds that invest in one of these pigeon holes are called “style funds”.

The best style funds turned out to be the TIAA-CREF Midcap Growth and the Fidelity Small-cap Enhanced Index fund.  Her portfolio started growing faster, as if you added new yeast to an old batch of dough.

My friend, the financial guru, sends his friends a list of stocks he thinks are worth investing in.  He pores over annual reports, financial statements, reads the lines, and between the lines.  I wrote another program to draw charts, so I could see all 20 on one screen.  I chose 5, started reading about them, at first just to know, for each, what’s the business of the business.  Around Valentine’s Day, one of them, V.F. Corporation (ticker symbol VFC), announced that it had missed earnings expectations, by 1 cent per share.  Its stock dropped by more than 6%.  I thought that was too much: the missed penny corresponded to about 3% of the earnings, so we could expect a 3% drop as a correction; the company was still as good as it had been; so any further drop was a discount, a sale.  They say, you can make more money buying than selling.

I wrote a program to “watch” stocks.  I would start it with a list of ticker symbols, and it would contact Yahoo Finance every minute, request their current prices, and display them on the screen.  On Monday, we started watching VFC.  It was still down, but stabilized, stopped tanking.  We bought.  The lesson: find a good company, do your homework, wait for superficial bad news, pounce as others panic.

Things went up and down, but more up than down.  After about a year of some contributions and some growth, she had about 40% more than when she started.

Then she fired me.

Andre P.

Jose

In employment, Keeping hope alive, Soup Kitchen Stories on May 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Jose actor

 Twenty six year old Jose’s life has changed in ways he never expected.  Moving from foster home to foster home growing up, Jose never had the safety net of a loving family and has been homeless most of his young adult life. Unable to complete his education due to so many upheavals,  Jose has continued his studies through on-line coursework in writing and acting.  Warding off despair and hopelessness while surfing the web at the library  —  hungry for a meal, a job, a place that would accept him  — Jose found our website and his hope was ignited.

“The first thing I noticed was how calm it is here, how peaceful, how welcoming,” he recalls.  “I can come here and no matter how low I’m feeling, it lifts my spirits.”

Jose has found more than a welcome place for a nutritious meal, he tells us.  After seeing other guests lining up at our social services program in the narthex of the church, he knew he might find some hope for his situation as well. When he told one of our social services advisers about his situation, that it was almost impossible to secure a job without identification and mailing address, he was steered toward one of our most practical programs, a simple photo ID with his name and contact information for verification.  “I was finally able to get an ID and a mailing address here, so I can apply for jobs,” he says.

Carrying a notebook with him that’s filled with a screenplay he’s writing, he was also  excited to find out about our Writers’ Workshop, where he can get feedback on his work , continue learning his craft and meet new friends in our soup kitchen family.

It was finally our clothing pantry that led Jose out of the vicious cycle of homelessness and unemployment. After securing his first audition, he knew he would need appropriate clothing to make that winning first impression. Referring to our Manager of Social Services he says, “Rich hooked me up with a suit, and they said it was perfect for the role!” Today, Jose now has a small role on a major network television program,work experience and, finally,  hope for his future.

 

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.”

Soup Kitchen Story: Robert

In employment, Guest stories, Keeping hope alive on May 7, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Robert with border

Robert has been delivering important messages for a long time now, and we’re fortunate that his work has brought him back through the doors of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.  In the mid 1990’s Robert was a bike messenger in lower Manhattan and would “stop in pretty much every day for a hot meal” at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. By the year 2000 he had put in enough time –  “8 hours a day on a bike!” – to merit moving up to a job as an indoor messenger, working within an office mailroom setting.  Hard work has always been central to Robert’s life.

“My mother instilled a good work ethic in me,” he tells me. “You’ve got to put something into life in order to get something out of it!”

He was working hard and his employment steady when, in 2006, he was diagnosed with cancer. No longer able to work full time, Robert found himself without a job at all, his only focus on survival. That’s when he turned to Harlem United for support, which ultimately led to the part time job that brought him back to the steps of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, helping today’s guests.

Robert says Harlem United Services was originally set up to help only people living with HIV access the help they need, but it has expanded its range of services to people with differing physical and mental health needs.  His job is to get the message out about its day programs: from therapy to housing and health coordination.  “I had to think of places where I could tell a lot of people about Harlem United, and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen was always in the back of my mind,” he says.

Harlem United is just one of many agencies we invite into the soup kitchen daily to offer guests a way to connect with others who can offer them additional help to address specific needs. Robert is here in this capacity twice a month and though we serve over 1,000 meals every day he says  he will be satisfied if he can reach “one person.”

“This place is an oasis in the middle of Manhattan,” Robert says, “People can eat all they want here, come back for seconds and anyone can use it. I know  it’s made a big impact on people.”

A Time I Should Have Been Angry

In employment, Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, Poetry on February 25, 2015 at 8:38 pm

end-of-life-choices

by Fred D. Street

An occasion some time ago, I
lost my Job, yes, I should have
been angry, but I went looking
for employment.

I arrive at New York State Lottery office for employments.

I was hired on that day,

My duties were to hand out
flyers on the street­-

Saying Play New York State Lottery
Pick Six Numbers in each
game, for a dollar-
New York State Lottery started,
I think, 1976-new game
in town-

The opportunity to have
a Job at that time
was rewarding and appreciated.

To choose to be Angry
is a choice.

Dermot’s Story

In employment, Keeping hope alive, Soup Kitchen Stories, Uncategorized on December 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm

 

Soup kitchen stories-hat

 

Dermot started coming to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen during the summer, when he was actually starting a new job at a big construction project nearby. He told us his story after finishing up a hearty meal and with only a few minutes to spare before he had to report back to work.

Why would someone  just starting a lucrative job need the soup kitchen? Fortunately, it is open to anyone – no questions asked – and that means Dermot too, who only found out about the soup kitchen after he started working again.

“I’m part of the long term unemployed. Construction got hit the hardest – I’d say about 80% of us lost our jobs,” he says, “I owe so much in back rent and bills that it will be about six months in this job before I’m caught up.”

Dermot says he did have small jobs during his hard times, but nothing that could keep his bills paid. Today though, things are looking up for Dermot as he scales new heights.

“Lunch here gives me the sustenance I need to keep going in the afternoon. I’m working on the first high rise I’ve worked on since 2008. And there are 30 more in the plans to go up.”

Dermot has also appreciated the haircut vouchers that Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen provides. These savings on lunch and haircuts certainly add up, helping him to get back on track and free of debt.

 

Omar’s Story

In employment, Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, Soup Kitchen Stories on February 26, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Image

On a typical day at Holy Apostles, you can usually find Omar in the back of the soup kitchen by counseling, enthusiastically talking to guests and handing out haircut vouchers, clothing referral slips, and toiletries.

“I’ve volunteered in counseling, at the bread station, collecting trays… I’ve tried a lot of the volunteer jobs. But being in counseling is my favorite job,” Omar says. “I get to talk to a lot of people. It feels good to have a sense of responsibility.”

Omar has been volunteering here for years, but when he initially came to Holy Apostles ten years ago, he came as a guest.

“When I first came to Holy Apostles, I had no idea so many people came here. But I was immediately impressed by how good the food was,” Omar shared, smiling. “I used to be on the street. It helped me open my heart to help people because I’ve been there before. I’m glad to be a volunteer now so I can help people in tough situations.”

When Omar first came here, he was struggling with a drinking problem. “Holy Apostles helped me to get detoxed in 2007. I’m doing a lot better now,” says Omar, proudly. “The people here help to keep me on track. I really like the people here. They keep my spirits high.”

Holy Apostles also helped to set Omar up with housing. He’s now living at BRC. “It’s much better than living on the streets,” Omar says. “Holy Apostles has really helped me to turn my life around. I’m doing much better now than I was when I first came here.”