Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Love’ Category


In Food, Love, Poetry on November 4, 2016 at 5:06 pm




I hear the soft clanging of a spoon in a pan

I am sure I do

Though she is not there

I smell the soft scent of sesame oil floating out from the kitchen’s warmth

I am sure I do

Though she is not there

I can hear the gentle soft lilting of her song

I am sure I do

I can taste the special noodle coming to me heaped carefully in my special bowl

I am sure I can

I am sure I can taste the dark slippery noodles so carefully cooked & prepared as they fill my grateful waiting mouth

But she is not there

She is not here

She is not carrying those special noodles to me as I sit expectantly on my throne

She is not here and the kitchen is quiet and clean and I am alone and she is not here

This achingly acquiescent cleanliness she last touched I dare not change

This barren emptiness I dare not disturb

This troubling quietness I know not how to sound again

Her absence makes a mockery of gathering any buds and nuts no matter I have traveled in the realms of gold and kissed a sweet rose now all is gone and I am alone

  – Michael Welch


Cute as a Button

In Love, Poetry on July 14, 2016 at 5:24 pm



Found a button

On the sidewalk

On and on I went and wondered

Do I come back and pick up that cute button?



Found such a cute button

On the sidewalk, standing on the bread line

Round and round I went



Tomorrow I will look for that button again

Hopefully she will be there

On that line on that sidewalk

Under the looming shadow of the church steeple

God Almighty, please find her there

Hoping she will see me there

That cute as a button and finding her way into my hand I hope.

-Michael Welch

Lost Soul

In fiction, Keeping hope alive, Love, The worst of times on May 13, 2016 at 4:04 pm

don't jump i love you

It’s springtime in the city and the sun is about to rise up – and you see the delivery man making his rounds.

A police officer is walking his beat – on Fifth Ave and 57th Street – when he looks up and sees a man on the edge of a tall building, he realizes this man is going to jump. He calls on his walkie-talkie before going to the building where the man is. He rushes to the building, and asks the porter, “Where is the elevator?” He figures he is on the 30th floor.  When he gets there – all the doors are locked – it is only 8 am in the morning.

Just when he turns around – the elevator door opens and a young lady comes out. He asks her if she has the keys to the office leading to the 5th Ave window – where the man is – she says,  “Yes, is there anything wrong?” The police officer says – “There is a man on the edge of the window.” The lady gets upset. He puts his hand around her and says – “Just relax, please.” As he enters the office – and sees one of the windows open – he looks out, and sees the young man on the edge of the window, crying by himself. The young man sees the police officer. “Stay away from me or I’ll jump,” says the young man – the police officer asks the young man if he wants to talk about his troubles – “What’s your name son?” “ What difference does it make?” says the young man. “I have a 19 year old son like you – I care,” says the police officer. The police officer mostly listens as the young man describes his very personal struggle with his mental illness. “My name is Kelly – and if you come in I promise you I will help you,” says the police officer. “You’re just trying to fool me,” says the young man on the edge of the window.

“How can I trust a police officer?” says the young man.  “Tell you what,” says the police officer –“I take off my uniform and you and I can talk inside.” The room is full of police officers, “how can I trust them?” — says the young man. “Listen, I’ll send them away, and it will be just you and me,” says the police officer. Police Officer Kelly finds himself with a young man threatening to jump from a window, and realizes by talking to the young man it gives him a sense of hope and encouragement to come in.

Kelly the police officer tells his captain to give him 10 or 20 minutes – Kelly steps outside on the edge of the window. “How are doing son?” says Kelly the police officer. “I just don’t know,” says the young man on the edge of the window, his eyes wet with tears. “Listen son – sometimes life can get messy, you can be down today, but then you come back up again, son.” As the young man listens to Kelly, the police officer, he’s able to get a good grip on the young man and get him inside the building.

The young man starts crying and sheds tears. “It’s ok to cry, son. And I promise I will help you,” says Kelly. He gives him a big hug.

-Charles Borges


Dear Mother

In Love, Poetry on May 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm


Dear Mother, dearest and loving you are,

Dear Mother, Don’t stress of my scars,

Dear Mother, beautiful – one day I hope to have the strength you do,

Dear Mother, you’re tough – and had to be so, growing up

Dear Mother, smile because you need to,

Dear Mother, don’t mind my scowl that you can’t see – for my trials should make a

Man out of me,

Dear Mother, stay clear of worry – but I know you won’t

Dear Mother, I feel your concern like fresh air, somewhere

Dear Mother, I’ll breathe – if you for you; to puff the allusion of stability.

Dear Mother, did you receive my release of comfort? Cozy up.

Dear Mother, I’m ok


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.

Sky Divers

In Love, Poetry on December 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Food for the soul


Sweety, how can I experience withdrawal from a high I never climbed?

Ecstacy, —-average  – the kind brutes and even giants are weary of.

Nirvana in an ethereal country, who fertile land we eventually descend

Has no slack like a trampoline, we’ll walk when permitted and contemplate fate

But now we’ll take the duty of trees,

Or would you rather serve as moving portraits for skyscrapers

Like 8x10s on the wall at home,

Art over our heads,

Divinity or perfect freedom?

The ultimate embrace of nothingness,

A reminder of this oneness philosophers praise,

As versus gravity

Hold my hand – an exchange of love at its finest

Where I can be you, and you could be me,

They say we both be crazy.



In Love, Poetry, Uncategorized on July 23, 2015 at 1:30 am



When your laughter – that causes

Your lips to open and reveal one

Of the greatest minerals of

The soul.

— A pearl—

Laughing and crying are human

Emotions – letting hurt to

Show itself –

– to lament—

Your faith reveals the

Encouragement within

Thyself – to participate

In the things that

You love doing – (smile)

Walking – loving,

Smiling – laughing – helps

To release the joy within

Thyself –

To reflect on an

Imagination of your

Youth, while telling

A story of considerations

Laugh – Smile – Laugh

-Fred D. Street

Youth Group

In Keeping hope alive, Love on June 26, 2015 at 12:46 pm

rainbow electrical wires

Maybe not every person should be a parent.  There is no how-to-guide for new parents.  I believe that parenting is a day to day experience.  There is always something new to learn.  I also believe that it is a parent’s responsibility/job to nourish, care for, love, protect and support their child.

I was born and raised in St. Albans, Queens, New York.  The only child of Catherine and Robert Gibson, we lived with my mom’s aunt and her husband in a middle class neighborhood.  Everyone knew each other in my neighborhood.  It was a time when screen doors did not need to be locked.  The husbands worked as policemen, postal workers or NYC transit employees.  The wives were teachers, librarians or nurses.  When I was 2 years old my dad walked out on us.  So my mom stepped up and worked even harder and longer hours at the hospital.  But when my mom and I were together on her days off, we always had fun.  She always had me laughing until my sides hurt.  I especially remember our long walks on warm summer evenings and then cooling ourselves with Carvel cones.  My mom loved her ice cream.  My mom made sure I went to school every day and church every Sunday.  Our church was St. Albans Congregational Church.  My uncle was a deacon and my aunt a deaconess.  My mom was a member of one of the many clubs in the church.  Sometime after my confirmation, my mom volunteered me to be one of two young acolytes in the church.  I was also in the youth choir for a brief period.  My mom was strict, but I think she thought she needed to be.  My mom’s strength and love made me want to be a good mom like she was.

I almost lost my mom when I was 12 years old.  The week before Christmas my mom and our pregnant neighbor were on their way home from work when they were hit by an oncoming car.  The impact knocked my mom a block away.  On the operating table the surgeons lost my mom for a few seconds.  But God intervened and brought my mom back to me.  What a blessed gift! Our pregnant neighbor survived and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  That was a hard time for both my mom and me.  But my mom got stronger and stronger and was finally released from the hospital.

During the years that followed my high school graduation, I worked as an administrative assistant in such areas as publishing, advertising and insurance.  Going to work and attending church on Sundays to thank God for my blessings, that was my way of life.

My own unplanned pregnancy in 1983 was a special blessing from God but I didn’t figure that out right away.  There was fetal distress during labor.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around my baby’s head, cutting off its oxygen supply.  But for the Grace of God a healthy baby girl was delivered to me.  I was also blessed to have my mom help me raise my daughter who I named Tolanya Janelle Gibson.  I did my best to make sure her childhood had as much fun and love as mine did.

I soon realized I was blessed with a very bright little girl.  She was an A student throughout her school years.  Tolanya’s grades were eagerly accepted at Columbia University here in NY.  Her major was Electrical Engineering.  During her freshman year Tolanya did not socialize much.  She was always in the library or in her dorm room.  On her visits home she seemed more to herself; quiet.  I noticed severe weight loss and she looked sad at times.  I then realized that once again I needed to remind my daughter that I would be there for her if she needed to talk.  While in my 50’s I suddenly found myself the care taker for my mom the last 7 years of her life.  Not an easy job taking care of a parent; especially if that parent suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.  But God lifted my mom up a little while longer because he knew I would need her help.

Sometime during Tolanya’s junior year she told me that she was gay.  I reassured my daughter that not only would I always be there for her – no matter what she decided; but also that she was my “world” and that I would take a bullet for her.  And then she told me something I never thought I would hear my daughter say.  She told me that she was thinking of killing herself.  It was as though the building we were in had crumbled down around us.  I suggested she sign up to see an “on campus” therapist.  She did and it helped her immensely.

Tolanya graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 2005.  Continuing on her educational journey, Tolanya began her graduate program at The University at Buffalo.  Her research included Nanophotonics and nonlinear optics.  But with my daughter even more isolated up there in Buffalo I prayed for her non-stop.  One day in 2009 Tolanya called me from Buffalo to say that she was thinking about starting testosterone shots.  My mind kind of swirled for a few seconds as I tried to grasp this new revelation.  All I could say was “What, why?”  She then explained that she felt like a male in a female’s body.  And that she wanted to begin her transition from female to male.  Transgender was not a new word for me since Cher Bono’s son made his transitioning public.  But I did sob after the phone call.  To think, my own daughter carried such a heavy load alone.  Knowing that she had thoughts of suicide paralyzed me.  How could I have not known?  What kind of parent was I that my child suffered alone?  Feeling somewhat deficient I asked God to help me be an even better parent in order to help my daughter.

Around this time the Lord led me to Holy Apostles.  It was my first time experiencing a holy Eucharist and it uplifted me into a new realm of calm.  At Holy Apostles I also discovered the rewards from volunteering at the soup kitchen.  In addition, my own therapist helped me work through my feelings of inadequacy.  But the journey for me was kind of rocky since I was still mourning the loss of my mom.

So, Tolanya chose 4 new names, emailed them to me and asked me which one I liked the best.  And the name we both agreed on was Ethan Asher Gibson.  Ethan quickly changed his name on all of his records.  He graduated in 2012 with a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering.  He moved back home here in our one bedroom apartment.  Many small minded neighbors who knew my mom and even remember my son growing up here would roll their eyes upon seeing him going in or out of our building.  A gay slur could be heard while they gossiped amongst themselves.  Some even stopped speaking to me in passing and would turn their heads the other way.  I began to read the 37th psalm morning and night.  Ethan had his top surgery done last August and made a full recovery.

My mom used to tell me many times that “God never gives us more than we can bear”.  And here I am.  I am a cat mom.  I am a soup kitchen volunteer and I am the parent of a transgender man. I surrender all of my love and support to him on a daily basis.  I am proud of all of his accomplishments and proud that he is my son.

-Linda Gibson

A Smile (Mouth)

In Keeping hope alive, Love, Poetry, Stories, secrets & dreams on February 23, 2015 at 7:03 pm

by Fred Street

When you smile
it means your heart
has been touched,
the feeling-gladness, sorrow love.

I was a bit dreary, sad, empty.

Then I thought of my Joy
of being alive-
to know in my heart
that I’m the life of a life.

Once a smile begins to formulate
in the inner landscapes of your being,
it radiates into warmth and roundness
of your lovely red lips – a round dimple is noted, round
when you smile.

First Love

In Love, Poetry, Stories, secrets & dreams on February 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm


by Norman Clayton

Eve, the trees itch, they always do
Grounded fruit calling to you,
Always to you, to lonely you,
Woman who had no choice,
I climb down almost the first time.

It is still not too late to get lost.
Let me sip you with a cup of wine,
White wine me, white wine you
Always longing and calling
Moonless always lovelorn you.