For the fourth month, we didn’t have our Soup Run last night and we were not in New York City serving our guests on 33rd Street. We miss them and look forward to being back in the neighborhood just as soon as it is safe to do so.

But we found a need in our backyard and are blessed to be able to help fill it. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit and we couldn’t feed our guests during the monthly Soup Run in the City, we pivoted and found local needs far greater than we ever knew. We began providing meals and sandwiches three times a week in Westchester County. Since March 26th, we’ve provided more than 3,000 meals and sandwiches to men and women at homeless shelters and soup kitchens in New Rochelle and White Plains and parishioners who needed the support. Local shelters and soup kitchens have seen a dramatic rise in the number of hungry individuals and families. The director of Oasis Shelter said some residents have jobs but they cannot afford to pay rent and the shelter is their haven.

Carolyn, our friend and former guest from 33rd Street who now volunteers with us on the Soup Run, keeps in touch. She recently appeared in an ad for food services provided by the NYC Human Resources Administration. We love seeing Carolyn’s picture!

We have been able to continue to feed so many because our chef, Manny Louros, has been so generous with his time. An army of angels delivers food. Hundreds of toiletry kits have been thoughtfully created by Georgeann Mavrovitis and Laurie & George Curtis. Stamatia Pappas employed single mothers to sew masks. Toiletries and masks were given to the shelter residents.

There are two important announcements to share about the future of the Soup Run:

– We are regularly evaluating governmental regulations and other considerations to determine when we may return to our spot on 33rd Street.

– All clothing donations must be new, in original packaging and seasonal. We cannot accept used clothing.

Thank you to the many volunteers and supporters who help us live the Philoptochos mission to care for the poor and the hungry. We will keep you apprised of future plans and ways in which you can participate in this important outreach. Stay safe and healthy.

Despina Kartson