Our guests were appreciative but in a hurry to find shelter from the 20 degree temperature during last night’s Soup Run. We served 120 meals of comfort food – meatloaf, rice and vegetables, and sandwiches to a long line of guests waiting for us on 33rd Street in New York City. We also walked around the block, into Penn Station, and to the drop-in center where we distributed food, hats and gloves to hungry souls.
In Penn Station, we found people sleeping on the floor, some were strung out and without any belongings. Approaching individuals quietly and with compassion, we asked if they wanted a meal. Most responded by opening their eyes, lifting themselves up, accepting our food and then offering us thanks and happy holiday wishes. At other times, standing in one spot and distributing food, a crowd gathered instantaneously to accept our offerings.
When we arrived at the drop-in center, everyone was in for the night and we asked the guard if we could offer food. Within seconds, about 20 people came outside and happily accepted our sandwiches, thanking us and saying Happy Holidays.
Last night, as we do every December, we gave out 100 sets of hand knit scarves, hats and gloves made lovingly by our Knitting for Charity group. Each set included a handwritten note in a holiday card.
Many times during the monthly Soup Run we find just one more item after we think we have distributed all that we have. That happened last night too. At the end of the evening as we were packing up our cars, a woman came by wearing only two fleece jackets. Our bins were empty but a volunteer remembered that we left an especially nice coat in a car – knowing that we wanted to give it to someone special. We gave the woman the coat, along with a scarf that a volunteer was wearing, and reflected on the small miracles that happen so often.
Thank you to the donors, supporters and volunteers of the Soup Run. We could not feed and clothe so many every month without the kindness and generosity of our extended community. This month we express gratitude to our volunteers from Stamford, CT (Fr. Harry Pappas and parishioners), Westchester County, Queens and New York City:
- Agathy & James Gerkis for their sponsorship
- Manny Louros and Zachary Karounos for preparing the meals and Basil Apostle and Kelly Sisco for packaging them
- Cookies – Alexis Livanos
- Sandwiches – Kathryn Papataros
- Sandwiches – Starbucks Manager, Diego Bastidas
- 100+ snack cakes – Anonymous
- Minos Samoladas for his generous donation which enabled us to purchase clothing
- Anthoula DeKnatel, the Knitting for Charity Group, George Kourakos and Alexandra King for knitting and crocheting 100+ scarves and hats
- Bags of coats and sneakers – Ascension Church (Fairview, NJ)
- Underwear and toiletries – Archangels Church (Stamford, CT)
- New bins for clothing and toiletries – Jennifer Curtis
- 80 pairs of hand warmers and men’s underwear – Alexandra Baudouin
- Toiletries and tote bags – Trish Lilley & Jessica Grayson
- Toiletries – Deborah Farone
- Melina Morris and Bombas (https://bombas.com/) for socks and T-shirts
- AHEPA for rearranging their monthly schedule to join the Soup Run
- May Vlachos (St. George NYC) for preparing the Mental Health Clinic guide and including the Soup Run dates
- Constance Mavrovitis and Cynthia Herzegovitch for organizing the clothing
- Georgeann Mavrovitis and Loredana Soravito Curtis for preparing the toiletry kits
Remember those who are hungry and experiencing homelessness. Your kindness knows no bounds. Please join us in 2020, beginning January 30th, and on the last Thursday of every month. Wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year filled with abundant blessings.