NYC Soup Kitchens: Successes and Struggles

With the glitz and glamour of Times Square, and the overindulgence of Wall Street, New York City typically ranks high on the list of the richest cities in the world. However, while the limelight might shine brightly on the Big Apple at times, there are many New Yorkers who struggle to fill even the most basic needs of life, like being able to provide food for themselves and their families.

More than 3.3 million New Yorkers have difficulty affording food, according to studies done by the Food Bank For New York City, an independent non-profit organization. An estimated 1.4 million residents rely on soup kitchens and pantries for consistent meals, a striking statistic any time of the year, but even more so leading up to Thanksgiving, when an often joyous celebration can turn cold when financial pressures affect families.

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, an Episcopal parish in Chelsea, is the largest soup kitchen in New York City. Serving more than 6,000 individual meals per week, the soup kitchen is also one of the biggest throughout the nation. I recently sat down with Neville Hughes, director of development for the kitchen, and spoke about what running a soup kitchen is like in 2010, as well as an interesting fact about soup kitchen attendance on Thanksgiving.

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/18/files/2010/11/History-and-meals_1-2.mp3|titles=History of the Soup Kitchen]

Hughes tells the story of the history of the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, and gives some insight on just how many meals they provide during a day.

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/18/files/2010/11/Recession_1-2.mp3|titles=Effects of the Recession]

Hughes talks about how the soup kitchen’s guests have been effected by the ongoing recession.

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/18/files/2010/11/volunteers_1-2.mp3|titles=How Volunteers Help]

Volunteers are the lifeblood of an organization like a food kitchen, and Hughes lets us know just how the Holy Apostle kitchen is doing.

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/18/files/2010/11/Thanksgiving_1-2.mp3|titles=Thanksgiving Dining]

Hughes shares an interesting anecdote that goes against traditional thought about large food kitchens during Thanksgiving.

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