Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

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.

Schoolfriend

In fiction, Friendship, humor, Stories, Stories, secrets & dreams on January 19, 2016 at 5:45 pm

elevator buttons

            Pamela Santucci works as a cleaning woman in a medical building where there are many medical offices. She cleans daily from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. One morning, around 4:30, she got on  the elevator, and a passenger came in after her, and said, “14, please.” So Pamela pressed the floor she wanted.

As the elevator was moving, she kept staring at the passenger, until it finally dawned on her who the person was. It was her daughter’s best friend. The passenger also kept staring at Pamela. Both said nothing. The elevator stopped on the 14th floor, and when the passenger got off, Pamela saw that the floor only has psycho offices, so Pamela wondered why Gloria Banapoli would be going to see a shrink.

When she got home, she told her daughter, gossip that she is. Her daughter said, “Ma, sit down. But please do not repeat this. She is married to Richie Cannoli.”

Then Pamela said, “The mob guy? But he’s in prison!”

Then her daughter said, “Ma, Ma, read between the lines. He married her so she can carry things in and out of jail for him.”

Pamela put her hands to her mouth, then over her head, and said, “You didn’t stop her from doing this crazy thing? What did her parents say—they don’t know?”

Her daughter said, “No.”

And Pamela said, “Of all the cockamamie things! I will have a talk with her the next time I see her. And that has to be now. Today. Find her, please, and bring her here.”

And that evening, there was Gloria, sitting at Pamela’s kitchen table.

“You being married to Richie, can’t you see what a mess you’re in? Can’t you annul the marriage?”

Gloria’s response was to ask, “You know I used to go with Bobby Fantusa?”

Pamela said, “Yes.”

Gloria then told her that Richie was going to kill her if he didn’t leave her, “So Bobby dropped me, which I found out later was a lie. You see, Bobby had borrowed money from the mob, and for payment—I was the payment.”

Pamela said, “My God, what are you going to do?”

Gloria said, “That isn’t the worst part. When you saw me this morning, I was making a delivery to the doctor. There are quite a few doctors I deliver drugs to weekly, but rarely that early. Usually after 4 p.m. That doctor was going to California later that day, and I couldn’t miss him. Then I gave the cash to Richie’s father. That’s my story. Bobby Fantusa got me in this mess.”

Then Pamela said, “And Bobby will get you out of this mess.”

After Gloria left, Pamela sat down at the table on the same chair Gloria had just left. She started smiling to herself. You see, when she was at Erasmus High, there was a boy who had a big crush on her. His name was Emilio Lagatuta. He had a great voice, like the great Caruso, Alonso, or even Robison. Anyways, his father forbade him to take up singing. He said, “That profession does not pay any money. You should come into the family business.”

His father was Vinnie Lagatuta, the head of the mob of Amalie. Over the years Emilio became the leader of the family. And over the years Gloria and Emilio kept in touch. So Gloria called Emilio, told him the problem, and he agreed to take care of it.

Within two days she got a call from Gloria. The problem was solved, and she was free from her husband. You see, when you have friends in high place, things happen. Of course, this story is entirely made up.

by George Cousins

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.

Homeless

In Friendship, Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, Prose, Soup Kitchen Stories on December 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Youth-and-Family-Christmas-Dinner-413

Homeless
by Ronnie Eisen

In 1977, I had entered the shelter system for approximately one month. Christmas was approaching, and I could not bear the idea that I must spend this day in the women’s shelter. I was broke and completely miserable.

I went to the phone booth and dialed the toll-free number for battered women. They told me they had room for me at Mother Theresa’s, and I could move in on Saturday afternoon. You can’t imagine how happy I was to be going away from the shelter.

I carefully packed my few belongings, leaving a few things behind for my new friends, Crystal and Mickey. I never told my counselor where I was going. I left him a note, thanking him for all his help. Then I just left, pretending to be going to the laundry.

I rode the train to Harlem with great happiness. The convent was even better than I thought it would be. We had no Christmas tree yet, but Mother put one up and let us all decorate it. We helped cook all the meals and cleaned the place. For once, there was no smoking and no violence. I really enjoyed the peace and quiet.

But then, the annoying thing happened. It was Christmas Day, and Mother told us we had to leave at eight in the morning and not come back until four in the afternoon. I had gotten sick at the party the night before, and I felt awful. I had no money at all and nowhere to go. Having never been in Manhattan on Christmas Day before, I imagined nothing would be open, I would freeze and die.

Suddenly, I remembered a story in the newspaper about Holy Apostles Church. I got a copy of the Tablet and checked the address. A Nigerian woman told me they would be serving Christmas dinner there. She too had no place to go. We made our way down from Harlem in the snow. We attended church at Holy Apostles and then went to the meal.

Everyone was nice to us, and several men gave us referrals to other soup kitchens that I have been going to ever since. I thank God for all the nice people I have met, and all the help they have given me.

My friend was able to reunite with her sister and find work in America. I’m still homeless, but I do work now and go to Holy Apostles whenever I can.

Only in New York

In Friendship, Soup Kitchen Stories, Uncategorized on August 28, 2014 at 9:27 am

laundromat

 

While growing up in Harlem, not only did my parents take care of me, but also my neighbors. There was always a watchful eye. My mother had a good friend named Carol, a tall black lady. She and her husband Willis were also from the South. They owned the cleaners down the street whey they worked. I think it was called Carol’s Cleaners. If my mother had an appointment, she would leave me at Carol’s and they would watch me until dinner. Carol was nice. She had a television set on the side of the counter. She liked soap operas. We’d watch them half the day. I liked All My Children.  Her favorite was The Young and the Restless. She give me potato chips and Coke. Then my mother would call and tell Carol to send me home for dinner.

– Nelson Blackman

Made You Laugh

In Friendship, Prose on August 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

 

laughing-people1My sense of humor kept me from my sorrows. I felt like improvising and ad-libbing, going with the moment – and laughing was good for the abdomen. It is exercise, because the stomach goes up and down, like Mrs. Claus’ from the North Pole. It is called playful yoga, full of jolly time, and it always makes the day go faster. Perhaps a nervous way of showing my feelings. Even making funny faces at my baby. His expression is very catchy. It is contagious in a good way.

In a small group or a large group – it can be a night out with some friends, enjoying a Saturday night – you can play a game of charades, with different expressions for the characters while describing them. Magic tricks or stunts would add to the experience. It is a natural high, and your brain will love you the next day. It can make any game more enjoyable, even a serious one like chess. Clowning and juggling at a birthday party, or a funeral, is good for the body, mind and soul. Add some makeup to the eyes, get a crazy wild wig, and put some Dracula teeth in – why not, to spice things up? You could forget your troubles in no time. Being sober or drinking can add some life to the boring moments. Cheering people on and clapping can reinforce the good times shared. Relationships and tranquility will strengthen, and phones will be ringing off the hook. Once-unpopular suddenly become the life of the party, and memories will last a lifetime.

-Gayle Dorsky

September 11, 2001

In Friendship, Guest stories, Keeping hope alive, Prose, The worst of times on August 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm

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Some day I’ll write of seeing thousands of bodies going up in pillars of white smoke, how the smell of death went on for weeks.

I want to write a former sister-in-law in England and say, “For a moment, I had a glimmer of what you lived through in the London Blitz.” But I couldn’t write that.

I sent my former husband a postcard of the Twin Towers and said, “Where you worked and the business life you once knew is no more. ” He wrote back, “I’m just glad you’re alive.”

Nine-eleven is like the day Kennedy was shot. You remember where you were, but you put the pain away.

-Carol West

May 8, 2002

A True Story

In Friendship, humor, Uncategorized on August 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm

homeless-charityThe homeless man was “on”. Jumping up and down, bobbing, weaving, smiling, shouting, smelly, and sweating. “Please,” he cried. “Give me a dollar. Pleeeease, I need a dollar,” he said to everyone who walked by. He was adamant.

I don’t know why, I stopped. Not that I had a dollar to give him but I asked, “Why do you want a dollar?” Still smiling and in my face, he shouted, “I need a dollar to get married.”

I made a decision and gave him my change, (not a dollar). “This is so you won’t get married,” I shouted as I walked away. “It will cost you too much to get single again.”

He laughed as he collected a new dollar from the next passerby. No questions asked.

-Carol West