Beliefnet

"If you see someone in a box..."
If you walk down the street and see someone in a box, you have a choice. That person is either the other and you're fearful of them, or that person is an extension of your family. And that makes you at home in that world and not fearful. So really it's very self-serving.

You've worked with a lot of hunger-relief organizations in New York City. What prompted you to start working with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen?

My relationship with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen started years and years ago. They were one of the few safe havens for people living with AIDS way back when there was such a stigma with AIDS. They stepped into the breach with counseling. I think there were even times when doctors could approach people with drug trials-well, not drug trials, but counseling them about other choices. No one was really up-front about anything to do with AIDS at that time.

I had a lot of friends who were fighting not only the disease but, at that time, the humiliation and the secret of having the disease.

I'm a native New Yorker. Everything to do with New York feels like my family. Home means so much to me. Even before I had children, I was one of those people that always had an extended family of friends. You'd make big Thanksgiving Day dinners and big events on Christmas. I tended to love gatherings-not parties necessarily, but celebrations of different kinds.

"The dilemma
of homeless-
ness"
The dilemma of homelessness-seeing people without a home, without their basic needs fulfilled-things that people are entitled to-shelter, safety, food-always really affected me. It's always been very difficult for me to see people on the street.

So I initially gravitated towards solving those problems in what I considered to be my extended family, which is my city.

People often burn out on soup kitchen work or humanitarian work like helping the homeless. What keeps you going given the magnitude of the problem?

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