by Despina Kartson
Hot meals, clothing, shoes and toiletries were distributed in record time to the more than 100 guests we served on 33rd Street in Manhattan during last night's soup run. We arrived at our location to be greeted by a long line of people who had been patiently waiting for us for nearly an hour. Lemon chicken, rice and vegetables along with snacks, fruit, coffee and the ever-popular hot chocolate with whipped cream were on the menu.
Our bins were overflowing with coats and other clothing and it seemed as if it took only 30 minutes to give away all that we had. Volunteers also provided underwear, socks and several bins of men's shoes and sneakers - every single item was accepted with sincere appreciation.
The evening was lively and busy, with many volunteers giving out food, listening to and talking with our guests. We were particularly touched by Collette, an elderly woman from Brooklyn. She was introduced to us by a formerly homeless guest who now serves with us every month. Collette quietly told us that she has an apartment but has no furniture and has been sleeping on the floor for months. She asked if we have any furniture, particularly a bed, that we could give her. We promised to bring her an air mattress, pillow and linens next month. Asking Collette to hang in there and sleep on the floor for another month was a difficult conversation but she is appreciative and happy to know that we will be there for her next month.
As our monthly outreach continues to grow, we were honored to be joined last night by Philoptochos members from The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (NYC), parishioners from St. George Greek Orthodox Church (NYC) and business colleagues of our volunteers. A special group of parishioners and the minister of New Bethel Way of the Cross Church (Harlem) brought numerous purses and backpacks filled with toiletry items earmarked specifically for our women guests. The generously filled bags were assembled during the church's "Purses for a Purpose" drive and they were so very much appreciated by the women.
Thank you to the many in our community and beyond who so generously support, through their actions and their offerings, the mission of the Soup Run. This month's outreach was made possible by:
Claud Karram for sponsoring
Manny Louros and Zachary Karounos for preparing the meals
Minos Samoladas for his donation which enables us to purchase much-needed socks and underwear
Denise Bendo for supporting the Blue Door Thrift shop in Mt.Vernon, and purchasing several large bags of clothing
Phoebe Malles of Lippe Taylor Integrated Marketing Communications Agency for hundreds of women’s toiletry items
The Philoptochos of Annunciation, New York City for their donation of socks and men's underwear
The parishioners from New Bethel Way of the Cross Church in Harlem for purse donations from their "Purses for a Purpose" drive
Irene Drivas tote bags and clothing
John Dos Santos and Charles Calomiris for bins of men's shoes
Constance and Georgeann Mavrovitis and Cynthia Herzegovitch for organizing the clothing and toiletries
The Philoptochos and the Holy Trinity, New Rochelle, community
Please join us next month on April 18th (schedule change due to Easter). All are welcome and donations of seasonal clothing, tote bags, socks and underwear are appreciated.