December 2011

One World’s Holiday Concert Benefits Largest Soup Kitchen in NYC

Yvonne Cassidy of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen speaks with One World Symphony.

What is the mission of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen?

Every week day, more than 1,200 hungry and homeless New Yorkers line up outside Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea to receive a nutritious meal. For many, this will be the only meal they will eat that day.

Our mission is not only to provide our guests with hearty and nutritious food to see them through the day, but also to offer refuge from the streets, a safe place where they know they will always be welcomed, a place where they will never be turned away.

In addition to our food program, we offer counseling, referrals, healthcare, and enrichment services. We work with our guests to ensure they are receiving full benefits to which they are entitled, help them with job applications and reunite them with family members.

Our ultimate aim is to empower our guests to move off the soup kitchen line and enjoy a more manageable and fulfilling way of life.

Would you like to share any unique and memorable stories or events related to the Soup Kitchen?

Our soup kitchen is a magical place. From the generous spirit of our volunteers who are the lifeblood of Holy Apostles, to the tenacity and determination of our guests to keep on going in the face of life’s challenges, there are few who come here who are not touched and humbled by the experience.

Every day 55 to 60 volunteers give up their time to serve our guests. They come from all walks of life, all parts of the city. People of all ages work side by side. Our oldest volunteer turned 90 earlier this year. The day before Thanksgiving we had a sight to behold in our church as a class of local third graders came to donate almost 500 toiletries which they had collected over the previous weeks for our guests. These toiletries will become an important part of the gift bags which we hand out over the holidays.

Our mission is to empower our guests to move off the soup kitchen line and we are often blessed to see the results of these efforts. Last month, a single mother found herself on our line, having removed herself and her five children from a situation of domestic violence. Homeless and jobless, the family had nowhere else to turn. Thankfully, she reached out to Jess, one of our trained social workers who jumped in to help and found the family safe, temporary housing, enrolled them in public assistance and obtained bridge money until it began. Jess helped our guest update her résumé and reached out to our network of contacts in the hospitality industry to seek job opportunities. In a week, our guest had two interviews; within two, she had been offered a job.

Why would you like for the community to attend the holiday concert benefitting Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen on Thursday, December 22, 2011?

As the largest soup kitchen in New York, the Holy Apostles is part of the soul of the city, a place where anyone is welcome and no-one is ever turned away.

But we are in a funding crisis which threatens the continuation of our work. This year, our state funding was more than halved — reducing our funding by $180,000 — the equivalent of running the soup kitchen for a month. Just as our funding has dropped, our lines are growing longer as more people are impacted by economic uncertainty. We are seeing new faces on the line almost every day, faces of the recently unemployed, sometimes recently homeless. Faces of the working poor for whom the choice so often comes down to buying food or paying the rent, buying food or paying for clothes for their children — devastating choices that no one, anywhere, should have to make.

By attending One World Symphony’s holiday concert on December 22, directed by Sung Jin Hong, you will be guaranteed an evening to remember — a celebration of the wonderful music of Beethoven and John Lennon in our special landmark church at a special time of year. And long after the night is over, not only will it live on in your memory, but it will live on in the many, many, meals we will be able to serve in your name and the many New Yorkers we will be able to help as a result of your generosity.

To find out more visit our website at: