by Despina Kartson
Our guests were lined up and awaiting our arrival for last night’s soup run in Manhattan. They helped us set up tables and cleared a path on the sidewalk. There was an energy in the air that made for an enthusiastic crowd, anxious to see what we had to offer them.
We distributed more than 100 turkey sandwiches, snacks and lots of bottles of water- for which our guests were particularly appreciative on a hot summer night. While they liked the sandwiches, one guest asked when we were serving the lemon chicken for which we have become "famous"!
We distributed socks, always the number one requested item, men’s and women’s underwear, shirts, shoes and toiletry kits. It may have been a record night for speedy distribution - all clothing was gone within 20 minutes.
As we never know what to expect or what item we might be able to provide to our guests that is just a bit extra special, last night was no different. A gentleman lost his sunglasses during the soup run and was upset because he has a light sensitivity issue and needs to wear sunglasses to diffuse the light. As we were packing up to leave and heard the story of the lost glasses, one of our volunteers looked in their trunk where they had a number of supplies and found a brand new pair of sunglasses. When they gave them to the man in need, he was absolutely stunned, shook hands while expressing gratitude and left us saying “I will never forget you guys”. He was one of the many who thanked us and was happy to talk and share stories of the day.
We enjoyed the company of many volunteers including our friends from Prophet Elias in Yonkers, business colleagues from Manhattan and Brooklyn, and neighbors.
Our front-facing and behind the scenes volunteers, supporters and sponsors make the monthly soup run possible. Thank you to Joanne Jackson for sponsoring last night’s soup run, Minos Samoladas for his donation which has enabled us to purchase clothing throughout the year, Manny Louros for making the sandwiches, and the many other caring souls who donated new and gently used items. We could never fulfill this important ministry without these committed individuals and we sincerely thank them for their unwavering support. We are accepting donations of socks, t-shirts, boxers, women's underwear, toiletries, canvas bags/tote bags/backpacks and baseball caps.
Please join next month’s soup run on September 27. Happy Labor Day!