Kindness, for me, is an important way of connecting to my community. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen is one of the ways I like to show that kindness. I learned about the All Souls soup kitchen because they had a partnership with my school, Cooke Academy, and also it is run out of a church that is just down the street from my home. Some people don’t have money to buy food, and by going to these soup kitchens they get the opportunity to have a hot meal. I have been volunteering there for many years and it always feels really positive to be working with a local organization and to be giving back to the community.
One thing I value is that volunteering with All Souls has been an opportunity to learn new skills. I set up tables. I plate the food, bring it to the guests, and much more. But even more importantly, the thing I value about volunteering for All Souls is the opportunity to meet and socialize with other people in the community. During a shift, I usually talk with other volunteers about what they have been up to recently and how their day is going. Often the same people will come in to volunteer on a regular basis and I will get to know them over time.
Carol runs the soup kitchen, and we have a close bond. She always greets me warmly and with fond wishes. The guests also often recognize me from their previous experiences in the soup kitchen. They are always very polite and really friendly. I always try to exchange “hello’s” and chat a little with the regular visitors. Sometimes there is a guest who is going through some hard times. I always understand that they are dealing with something, and I just focus my attention on the other visitors.
I always feel really good about the work I am doing at All Souls. I get to do my job independently and with confidence, and because I enjoy the work itself, I always have a strong sense of accomplishment. This has been an important routine in my life for a long time. I am always warmed to feel so welcomed by my community and treated with kindness and respect. It gives me great pleasure to be able to give something back and return that feeling of kindness.
Learn more about Friday Soup Kitchen at All Souls NYC.
Looking to spread kindness by volunteering? Here are a few resources to get you started:
- NYC Service
- New York Cares
- Volunteer at Educational Alliance, which the 14Y is a part of!
- Help Now NYC, find out how you can help New Yorkers affected by COVID-19
Jacob Ross has supported the 14Y Membership and Marketing Departments at the 14th Street Y, and is involved in employment support programs through JobPath.