by Despina Kartson
Our 115 guests on 33rd Street in Manhattan enjoyed the chicken souvlaki meal we served during last night's soup run. With the benefit of extra chicken from our recent Greek Festival, our chef prepared meals that included rice, vegetables, apples, coffee and hot chocolate. A few of our guests told us that they really appreciate our food and that it is always "the best".
With limited cars available to drive into the city, we pared down our clothing donations to those most necessary: socks, underwear, shoes and pants. Our two cars were packed with no room to see out of or to spare and we drove into the city to a large and welcoming crowd. Immediately, at least three men stepped out of line and helped us unload our cars and distribute some of the items.
As we often say, we enjoy talking with our guests and last night, one of our volunteers described his experience after a fun conversation with a group of men about sports:
It just felt great to talk with these guys and go back and forth about historic sports moments and current topics around the world. Robert, a man who I met for the first time today came up to me afterward and said how much he appreciated what we were doing. Words like these make you realize how much we mean to these men and women and I will do my best to make them feel the reciprocal... how much we appreciate them no matter the circumstances.
We are always grateful for the unending support of our volunteers and sponsors including The Fotiades family who sponsored last night's soup run, Manny Louros for preparing the meals, those who donated clothing and toiletries. A special thank you to Philoptochos who secured a generous donation of Bombas socks. Bombas is a sock company that has donated 8 million pairs to homeless shelters since launching in 2013. The company was founded to address the #1 most requested item in homeless shelters and for every pair purchased, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need.
We are also most appreciative of the efforts of many parishioners from Holy Trinity and friends in New York who come together every month to offer a listening ear and give their time to those in need.
The evening ended with a classic random act of kindness that we often experience. After we had driven a number of blocks and were stopped at a traffic light, a man in a car next to ours beeped, got our attention and told us that our car's trunk was open. He got out of his car, closed our trunk, waved and drove off - all in a New York minute!
We are accepting donations of new women and men's underwear, tee shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. Tote bags and backpacks are always needed. Please join us on October 25.