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Simply Give: Volunteering at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Simply Give: Volunteering at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

There’s no doubt that the holidays, a time of reflection, giving thanks, and spending time with family, is one of the best times to volunteer. The changing of weather, especially in New York, can be incredibly hard on the homeless and hungry. Finding a warm place to stay and waiting on long lines in the cold for soup kitchens are what NYC’s homeless has begun to face this fall/winter. This month, I volunteered at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen on 28th Street and 9th Avenue. At 9am, when I arrived, there was already a line of 25 people waiting to enter for the 11am meal. Each volunteer was given a job, ranging from greeter to server to clearing tables.  

Arguably, I got the best job. I was assigned “candy duty,” which meant that I handed out candy to everyone on his or her way out of the soup kitchen. After eating their hefty meals of bread, meat, greens, and Jell-O, I was able to give each and every person a small piece of tangible joy in their day. Seeing each person’s face light up as I handed him or her two pieces of candy made me smile so big. I laughed every time someone got picky about the candy they were given, asking for chocolate instead of a tart candy, or asking for more than “just two?!” pieces. I was glad I was able to provide a special treat – more than just a piece of candy, but something that brought joy, nostalgia, or memories of childhood.  

I learned a lot that day. I was able to have a personal connection with every single person that came to the soup kitchen. I was enlightened to what the face of homelessness and hunger looks like: some wore ties and carried briefcases while others clutched plastic bags that they would sleep on later that night. No one is impervious to homelessness or hunger. Try to volunteer in your community and help the less fortunate during this season of thanks.

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