cold, tasteless spaghetti
Some churches still have soup kitchens in NYC. This form of outreach ministry helps many men, women and children with hot meals that they’d otherwise not have. This is the side of NYC and America that we turn a blind eye to and that tourists prefer not to see or never really do.
Growing up (1984), my parents ran into some monetary issues and we ended up asking for free non-perishable foods like canned vegetables and dry milk from different churches including the Riverside Church (http://www.theriversidechurchny.org/), which would send you home with two bags of groceries only once a week. It was quite embarrassing for me at the time to be the subject of this charity.
There was this church somewhere in Manhattan where one day my father and I ended up eating cold spaghetti with hot tomato sauce. We were surrounded with homeless and much more needy individuals. You might call this a crash course in humility. I’d like to go back to this church to have a plate of cold spaghetti with tomato sauce once again. Unfortunately I’ve got no idea what church this was.
At the same time, the Riverside Church (http://www.theriversidechurchny.org/) and its charity will always have a special part of my heart and soul. This church was there for me when I could have been hungry.
In all, this is what Christian churches were like in the early 1980’s. Nowadays it’s much more different with tighter budgets, lawsuits and other obstacles. Nonetheless some churches and religious organizations still offer this form of outreach ministry — Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (http://www.fapc.org/), Jackson Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church (http://www.jacksonheightschurch.org/), the Bowery Mission (http://www.bowery.org/) and others (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=soup+kitchens+nyc).
Perhaps we should all serve a soup kitchen at least once and share a meal with those in more need that we could ever be.