Click the link below to read this article featuring our own Despina Kartson:
On a hot, sticky evening in New York City, a large crowd awaited our caravan of cars and more than 25 volunteers as we turned onto 33rd Street to serve 110 meals during Last Night’s Soup Run. Anticipating our arrival, some of our guests helped unload bins and set up tables while others patiently stood in line. We served spaghetti with meat sauce, vegetables, oranges, water, juice and coffee.
We met new guests and talked with some of our “regulars” who expressed their gratitude for our food and clothing. One man talked about the beauty of caring for one another no matter the race or ethnicity. He told us how much our monthly outreach is appreciated and that those guests who have come to know us will always look out for our safety on the streets.
Last night, we had an extraordinary outpouring of generosity from our volunteers. Melina Morris of Bombas Socks distributed 250 pairs of socks. Bombas donates a pair of socks for every pair purchased. One of our volunteers distributed 54 backpacks and tote bags that she collected from students at her high school.
At the end of the evening when all of our food and clothing had been distributed, we walked to a homeless drop-in center on 31st Street and distributed 75 sandwiches that were made by one of our volunteers. The drop-in center opens its doors at 9 p.m. every night for homeless to sleep on folding chairs. It does not provide food. The supervisor of the center announced to those inside that our group was distributing sandwiches. Immediately, we were surrounded by a crowd and we gave out the sandwiches.
Without the support of our generous donors and volunteers, we would never be able to help feed and clothe those whom we do every month. This month, we express gratitude to our supporters from Westchester County, NY; New York City; Queens; Long Island and Connecticut.
Keep those who are hungry and homeless in your minds, hearts and prayers. Give what you can, when you can, and join us next month on July 25.
The torrential rain didn’t stop us from venturing out to serve our guests during last night’s soup run. By the time we arrived at our spot in Manhattan, the skies cleared, the downpour subsided to a drizzle and we served more than 125 meals to the large group who were waiting for us. No matter what the weather, those who are hungry or homeless still need to eat.
Our guests were exceptionally grateful – thanking us for “coming out in this weather”, saying “God bless you for what you do”, and expressing appreciation for the delicious meal. A couple of our guests helped us set up and serve. One man told us that he remembered we provided food an extra day last month, on Orthodox Good Friday, and remarked about how kind he thought it was that we wouldn’t miss one of our regular evenings.
We talked with a homeless Vietnam veteran who stays in various shelters because he cannot afford rent and food – it’s one or the other. He showed us the ID card he carries which identifies him as a 9/11 survivor. He was working on the 86th floor in one of the World Trade Center towers when he heard an explosion. The noise reminded him of his time in Vietnam and he knew something was terribly wrong. He said he immediately started making his way down the building, assisting others along the way and noted how “everyone was the same color” when he made it outside to the rubble and ash covered streets. After 9/11, his life turned into a downward spiral as he struggled with addiction and homelessness. Today, he said he is clean, volunteers helping teens with addiction and talking with them about survival – even as he survives every day without a home and wondering about his next meal.
We received an extraordinary financial donation from a close friend of one of our volunteers. The friend owns a restaurant in Florida, knows about our monthly Soup Run and donated money that was inadvertently left by a customer on the counter of the restaurant. When the money was not claimed for quite some time, the restaurateur gave the money to our volunteer so that she could provide clothing for the homeless. The restaurant owner wishes that the customer who left the cash behind knows that the money has been put to very good use. What an amazing gesture!
Every month we are grateful to all who so generously support, through their actions and their offerings, the mission of the Soup Run. This month’s outreach was made possible by supporters and volunteers from Westchester County, NY; New York City; Norwalk, CT; New Jersey; Washington, DC; and Clearwater Beach, FL.
Please join us on June 27th.
The NY Post recently featured this video of one man’s homelessness story:
We learn so much from the guests we serve every month, including during last night’s soup run. Serving more than 125 meals of lasagna and 120 sandwiches on a blustery evening in New York City, we spoke with guests who have a gentle and good spirit, who teach us so much about life, living and maintaining a light heart while at the same time, they do not have a permanent place to lay their head. When we asked one guest where she would be sleeping last night, she told us she’d be staying in a place without heat, electricity or water but was thankful to be indoors. We shook hands with some who remarked about how cold our hands were and wanted US to stay warm. We distributed several icon cards and talked with a gentleman who asked us to explain the meaning of the iconography and the Greek letters. Later in the evening, we saw him sharing the card with a woman. Some guests proudly showed us coats and bags they had previously received from us. A man whom we had not seen in a couple of months, explained that he was struggling and “under a storm”. Our hearts and prayers are with each and every individual we meet.
All are welcome to join the next Soup Run on December 27, 2018. In-kind donations, including warm clothing, hoodies and backpacks, as well as financial donations, are very much appreciated. A very blessed and Merry Christmas to all. #lastnightssouprun #bombas