Friday, July 11, 2008

T.G.I.F.: The Great, Impossible Feat award

It's Friday--the end of a work week, the beginning of the week's end. And I thought I'd start yet another sporadic on-going series: T.G.I.F.: The Great, Impossible Feat award.

[T.G.I.F.--look how happy I am--this is, of course, not what I *really* look like, although aside from the fact that this figure has no nose, it's not a bad cartoon replica of what I might have looked like as a kid. By the way, I have to thank my British cousin "J" for sending an email message with this image]

The first recipient of Mixed Race America's T.G.I.F. award is the Church of the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

I first learned about the Church of the Holy Apostles while reading Ian Frazier's New Yorker article, "Hungry Minds: Tales from a Chelsea Soup Kitchen." I was immediately drawn in to the world of HASK (Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen), the guests who find their way to the daily weekday lunch that the volunteers of HASK serve, and the history of the Holy Apostles Church.

Here is a description I found by the NYC chapter of AGO (American Guild of Organists) of the church:
The prominent octagonal spire of the Church of the Holy Apostles is a welcoming landmark among the industrial buildings and red brick towers in the far western blocks of Chelsea. Reputedly a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church has continued its embrace of the unwelcome by starting a soup kitchen in 1982, now the largest in New York City, which serves up to 1000 meals each weekday to the homeless and downtrodden. In 1973, the socially-active and diverse congregation helped establish Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, a gay and lesbian synagogue which still uses Holy Apostles for its Friday evening service. In 1977, the first woman priest in the New York diocese was ordained at Holy Apostles. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be consecrated as a bishop of the Episcopal Church, celebrated and preached on Gay Pride Sunday 2005.

The Holy Apostles Church is a space that is truly diverse and literally practices what it preaches (and perhaps, in its case, preaches what it practices). So my hat is off to HASK and the Church of the Holy Apostles. And for anyone who wants to really do good work with that incentive check that the government just gave out, you may want to consider going to the HASK website and giving a little bit to an organization that gives so much to so many people. Or just take a moment and look in your kitchen and see if you have something to drop off to your local food pantry.

It is truly a Great, Impossible Feat to provide 1,000 people a midday meal five days of the week and to have done so for over two decades and to have done so with nothing more than the good works and iron will of dedicated volunteers and church leaders.


Mid Day Meal said...

Very interesting.
We here at ISKCON Food Relief Foundation are involved in a similar activity. We have 12 kitchens in different parts of India. In all we are serving 300,000 meals every day, six days a week since 2004. This year we want to increase the number to 350,000 meals per day.

These meals are served free to underprivileged children attending government primary schools.

For more details please contact on


Radha Krishna Das
ISKCON Food Relief Foundation

Susan said...

You know, such things happen all over the country, every day and every week. I know a church that runs the largest food pantry in the city, with one part time staff person. There are 200-300 guests each week. Except for the coordinator, everyone is a volunteer. It's quite amazing. But I also know about the soup kitchens, and the dinners at the homeless shelter, all done by volunteers.

Jennifer said...

mid day meal,
Thanks for leaving a comment--and for doing such good work in the world. As Susan wrote below, I think that there are many organizations in our local communities who are doing T.G.I.F. on a regular basis--and whose praises too often go unsung.

So thanks to both of you for reminding us of other organizations who are also doing good work in the world.