Home Church & Religion Last Night’s Soup Run on the streets of Manhattan

Last Night’s Soup Run on the streets of Manhattan

New York, NY – Greek News USA

                          [Photos: Holy Trinity New Rochelle & GOA]

Since 2009, the Soup Run Ministry of the Holy Trinity parish in New Rochelle has been serving individuals who make their homes on the streets of New York City.

Once every month, on the last Thursday, volunteers pack up clothing donations and toiletry kits and car pool to the city where they distribute the items to those in need, hoping to offer some relief and trying to provide the bare essentials needed for survival.

Through these monthly Soup Runs over the last 13 years, the group has served more than 12,000 meals to their guests on 33rd Street.

This month, due to the Thanksgiving Day, the Soup Run was held a week earlier, on the 17th of November. The group led by Holy Trinity’s Proistamenos, Fr. Nicholas Anctil and assistant priest Fr. Demetris Balidis, had among them a very special volunteer: His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. Fr. Elias Villis, the Direct Archdiocesan District’s Chancellor was also present.


“It was an extraordinarily special evening of serving, listening and talking with our guests on 31st St. in Manhattan during last night’s Soup Run. Extraordinary – because we distributed 150 hot meals, 115 sandwiches, 130 toiletry kits – the most we’ve served in 16 years of the Soup Run. Extraordinary – because we were blessed to have Archbishop Elpidophoros with us. He handed out meals, sandwiches and icons, asked our guests and volunteers for their names and talked with them, and walked throughout the crowded sidewalk making sure he connected with everyone. Extraordinary – because it was a joyful evening filled with purpose, compassion and love”, says Despina Kartson, a director of this outreach program and author of the book “Last Night’s Soup Run: Feeding the Hungry and the Homeless”.

And continues: “We served our regular men and women guests who are experiencing homelessness and we also served Venezuelan asylum seekers. They too are becoming our regulars – we recognized one another from last month and were happy to see each other. All were so appreciative of the food, clothing and toiletries we offered.

At one point, a Venezuelan guest asked us how she could help! She stood next to us and handed out toiletry kits, speaking Spanish with the others. We gave a young boy a stuffed animal and he was so excited that he opened his arms wide and hugged our volunteer. Parents with babies and children in pajamas asked for blankets and coats. A homeless man who spoke with the Archbishop excitedly told us “that man blessed me”.

At the end of the evening, when we had distributed every single item we had, an amputee in a wheelchair approached us asking for anything we had. He asked for food – we were out. He asked for clothing – we were out. He asked for a blanket – we were out, or so we thought. We checked our cars one last time and found a blanket in a bag that had been given to one of our volunteers. It is amazing and a blessing when we can take care of one more person!”

According to Mrs. Kartson, the Soup Run is a labor of love all month long as they plan, gather and organize for the last Thursday of the month when they serve their guests. “It is through the donations of those in the Holy Trinity community and beyond – including supporters and volunteers from across Westchester County, Queens, Long Island, New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey, those of various faiths and friends of friends, who make this important outreach a reality”, she added and thanked this month’s participants and supporters.   

She also invited everyone to join the group on December 22, 2022 for the next Soup Run just before Christmas.

“This is prayer in action”, says Archbishop Elpidophoros. “We distributed hot meals and warm clothing to numerous men, women, and children in need, living on the streets and in shelters in the heart of New York City. I also met several asylum-seeking families currently housed in a hotel on 31st Street in Manhattan. I am grateful to the Holy Trinity volunteers for their devotion to their unhoused brothers and sisters. I am thankful to Father Nicholas Anctil and Soup Run directors Despina Kartson and Maria Scaros for their hard work, as well as to the Archdiocesan District Chancellor, Father Elias Villis, who joined me yesterday [on Nov.17]”, His Eminence posted on the social media.