We met several interesting and needy individuals during last night’s Soup Run in Manhattan, including a couple of our guests that we have not seen in some time. Most look weary but we had many nice conversations and without exception, everyone thanked us for what we gave them.
We ventured out with 50 bags of turkey sandwiches, bananas and water bottles, 50 toiletry kits and 50 sets of t-shirts rolled with Bombas socks. Stationed at a table outside of the Oliveri drop-in center on 30th Street, some guests needed everything we offered, some needed only socks and food. All needed the compassion we shared, and they enjoyed our conversations.
Two volunteers stayed at the table on 30th Street while four volunteers went into Penn Station and walked around the block. Penn Station is not the same – it’s quiet, there are fewer travelers, stores are empty and those who are homeless are being moved out. As we were giving food to a woman seated on the floor, an Amtrak police officer approached asking the woman to leave. At the same time, a kind woman from BRC, Bowery Residents’ Committee, https://www.brc.org/outreach-unsheltered, began talking with the woman and encouraging her to go to a shelter or hotel. BRC is an impressive organization, operating 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, providing outreach to the unsheltered in New York City’s subway and train stations.
We met Bruce, settled in his spot on 33rd and 8th Avenue, who showed us his notebook of drawings and serenaded us with a Frank Sinatra song. While talking with Bruce, one of our regular guests told us where we could find others in need nearby. There was a woman sitting near Duane Reade, a man barely able to stand in a drug-induced stupor, a hungry and disheveled looking soul, and a man flat out on the sidewalk being awakened by a building security guard and a police officer. This was all in a half block walk. Five minutes later, the man in the drug-induced stupor surprisingly walked past us and when we offered him food and toiletries, he gladly accepted them, thanked us and said, “God bless you”.
After serving a number of guests on the Post Office steps, we walked back to Penn Station and, propped up against the wall on the sidewalk, saw a handmade cross left by someone. A blessing from above. It was remarkable to see.
Thank you to the dedicated volunteers and supporters who enable us to continue to feed those who are hungry and surviving one day at a time.
This month we are especially grateful to the following:
- Minos Samoladas and Basil Livanos – Financial Support and September Soup Run Sponsorship
- Eirinni Copulos, Chrisie O’Leary and Maria Scaros – Sandwiches
- Phil & Anastasia Herzegovitch and John Copulos – Volunteers
- Melina Morris and Bombas – Socks
- Georgeann Mavrovitis and Laurie & George Curtis – Toiletry Kits
- Alexandra King – Handknit Washcloths
- Kathleen Haverlack Wasser and the American Lung Association – T-Shirts
Our next, limited Soup Run is scheduled for October 29. Your continued support and participation in this important outreach are always welcomed. Donations of new men’s and women’s underwear and t-shirts are the only items we are accepting at this time. As BRC says: “Help build a more compassionate city.” All of us can play a role in doing so. Stay safe and healthy.