We’re constantly inspired by our volunteers and the good energy and positive attitude they bring with them. #gratitude

We’re constantly inspired by our volunteers and the good energy and positive attitude they bring with them. #gratitude

Awesome people hanging out together while volunteering at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen. 
This group of morning volunteers were all done with preparing the day’s meal and sat down to chat in between volunteer shifts. 

Awesome people hanging out together while volunteering at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen

This group of morning volunteers were all done with preparing the day’s meal and sat down to chat in between volunteer shifts. 

Volunteering with our loved ones at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen

We love it when our loved ones come visit us in the Big Apple and partake in our regular activities—such as volunteering with us at SJSK! 

Longtime regular volunteers (and St. Joseph’s parishioners), Chris and Rolande, had a chance to bond further with their special out-of-town guests. 

Top photo: Chris volunteered with his sister Allyson (right), and her friend Emily (left), who were visiting him from Portland, Oregon. 

Bottom photo: Rolande volunteered with her son Emmanuel, a Catholic priest, who was visiting her from France. 

Lovely!  

Aug 3, 2013

(Source: sjsk)

Meet today’s volunteer group—Peace Corps SJSK volunteer (and one of our cooks on the cooking rotation), Teresa, rallied her fellow Peace Corps crew as the official organized volunteer group for the day. Teresa is the one holding the sign.  7-20-13 

Meet today’s volunteer group—Peace Corps 

SJSK volunteer (and one of our cooks on the cooking rotation), Teresa, rallied her fellow Peace Corps crew as the official organized volunteer group for the day. Teresa is the one holding the sign.  

7-20-13 

A volunteer’s perspective about the early days of cooking at St. Joseph’s Soup KitchenOn February 5, 1983, I prepared my first meal as the main cook of the Soup Kitchen sponsored by the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, the oldest standing Roman Catholic church building in Manhattan. I was 34 years old and had just graduated from Columbia Law School. I was also terrified.
I grew up in a large Mormon family. If I count all my half-, step-, and full brothers and sisters in chronological order, I am number 9 of 14. Six sisters and two brothers preceded me, but I was the first child in my family to conclude that my stepmother was lost in the kitchen. My initial reaction was to eat at MacDonald’s whenever I could (I worked after school as a sales clerk at Montgomery Wards in Las Vegas, Nevada, and could afford a 19-cent cheeseburger). My second reaction was to buy The Joy of Cooking and, at the ripe age of 16, assume responsibility for major family meals, which I did without a hitch. But cook for 150 people, with only 3 hours to prepare? That I had never done before.
I was not the first Soup Kitchen cook at St. Joseph’s—that honor belongs to Patricia Dempsey, who convinced the church’s Social Action Committee to sponsor the Kitchen in 1982—but I began within a few months of its opening and remain its longest-serving chef.
Over the years I have watched the demographics change and the number of meals we serve fluctuate in relation to hard economic times for the poor. In 1983, we served more women and families with children. Now our clientele is almost exclusively adult males.  
By the end of the Reagan era, the number of meals we served on a given Saturday had climbed from 150 to as many as 700. During Clinton’s last year we sometimes saw our numbers drop back to as low as 150. For the past several years, though, our numbers have hovered around 400, but no matter how many meals we serve, I no longer panic. I regularly toss off Soup Kitchen entrées in less than 3 hours, and the food’s not bad, either. I would eat it. The Social Action Committee, in conjunction with the City of New York, provides canned goods and many fresh vegetables for us to work with, but it has insufficient funds to purchase fresh meat.* (Canned meatballs and canned chicken are sometimes available.) I therefore always pay for the kielbasa or other meat products I use out of my own pocket and am happy to do so. I try to accommodate all. On the weeks I cook, the Soup Kitchen turns out three versions of the main course: one that includes beef or pork; one that has only turkey or chicken; and one that’s vegetarian.
* [Editors note: fresh ground beef, ground turkey, and fresh chicken legs are available to cooks for meals—and are especially encouraged for use during holiday meals}.  
My first two years at the Soup Kitchen I cooked every Saturday. (Our original idea was to take up the slack from the soup kitchen at St. Vincent’s Hospital, which served no meals on Saturdays. St. Vincent’s has since closed.) When I found I had no time to do laundry before I returned to work each Monday (I was a Wall Street lawyer at the time), I simply purchased more underwear and socks and kept right on cooking.  
By my third year, however, I knew something had to give. My talent for churning out hearty meals in large quantities had been put to good use, but I had so little free time I worried about burnout—not as a lawyer, as a cook. That’s when I hit on the sensible idea of claiming the second Saturday of every month as my own, a schedule I’ve adhered to ever since. I celebrated my 30th Anniversary as a cook at St. Joseph’s on February 9th of this year.
No one has to prove he or she is homeless in order to eat at St. Joseph’s, although it’s safe to assume that most people who dine with us either are or are surviving on little.  People often think that being poor is such an intractable problem there’s not much one person can do to help besides donating money, but my Soup Kitchen experience shows otherwise. I, with the aid of a few volunteers who chop cilantro, celery, and onions each week (not to mention kielbasa), have served over 150,000 meals to the poor. And I’m one person.
Cooking, though, is not my only obsession. I have another…Read more
————-Congrats to longtime SJSK volunteer David Larkin on his debut novel The Book of Thompson: A Mormon Tragedy. David will be reading excerpts of his novel on Tuesday, June 18 at 7pm at the Parish House at St. Joseph’s Church. 

A volunteer’s perspective about the early days of cooking at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen

On February 5, 1983, I prepared my first meal as the main cook of the Soup Kitchen sponsored by the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, the oldest standing Roman Catholic church building in Manhattan. I was 34 years old and had just graduated from Columbia Law School. I was also terrified.

I grew up in a large Mormon family. If I count all my half-, step-, and full brothers and sisters in chronological order, I am number 9 of 14. Six sisters and two brothers preceded me, but I was the first child in my family to conclude that my stepmother was lost in the kitchen. My initial reaction was to eat at MacDonald’s whenever I could (I worked after school as a sales clerk at Montgomery Wards in Las Vegas, Nevada, and could afford a 19-cent cheeseburger). My second reaction was to buy The Joy of Cooking and, at the ripe age of 16, assume responsibility for major family meals, which I did without a hitch. But cook for 150 people, with only 3 hours to prepare? That I had never done before.

I was not the first Soup Kitchen cook at St. Joseph’s—that honor belongs to Patricia Dempsey, who convinced the church’s Social Action Committee to sponsor the Kitchen in 1982—but I began within a few months of its opening and remain its longest-serving chef.

Over the years I have watched the demographics change and the number of meals we serve fluctuate in relation to hard economic times for the poor. In 1983, we served more women and families with children. Now our clientele is almost exclusively adult males.  

By the end of the Reagan era, the number of meals we served on a given Saturday had climbed from 150 to as many as 700. During Clinton’s last year we sometimes saw our numbers drop back to as low as 150. For the past several years, though, our numbers have hovered around 400, but no matter how many meals we serve, I no longer panic. I regularly toss off Soup Kitchen entrées in less than 3 hours, and the food’s not bad, either. I would eat it. The Social Action Committee, in conjunction with the City of New York, provides canned goods and many fresh vegetables for us to work with, but it has insufficient funds to purchase fresh meat.* (Canned meatballs and canned chicken are sometimes available.) I therefore always pay for the kielbasa or other meat products I use out of my own pocket and am happy to do so. I try to accommodate all. On the weeks I cook, the Soup Kitchen turns out three versions of the main course: one that includes beef or pork; one that has only turkey or chicken; and one that’s vegetarian.

* [Editors note: fresh ground beef, ground turkey, and fresh chicken legs are available to cooks for meals—and are especially encouraged for use during holiday meals}.  

My first two years at the Soup Kitchen I cooked every Saturday. (Our original idea was to take up the slack from the soup kitchen at St. Vincent’s Hospital, which served no meals on Saturdays. St. Vincent’s has since closed.) When I found I had no time to do laundry before I returned to work each Monday (I was a Wall Street lawyer at the time), I simply purchased more underwear and socks and kept right on cooking.  

By my third year, however, I knew something had to give. My talent for churning out hearty meals in large quantities had been put to good use, but I had so little free time I worried about burnout—not as a lawyer, as a cook. That’s when I hit on the sensible idea of claiming the second Saturday of every month as my own, a schedule I’ve adhered to ever since. I celebrated my 30th Anniversary as a cook at St. Joseph’s on February 9th of this year.

No one has to prove he or she is homeless in order to eat at St. Joseph’s, although it’s safe to assume that most people who dine with us either are or are surviving on little.  People often think that being poor is such an intractable problem there’s not much one person can do to help besides donating money, but my Soup Kitchen experience shows otherwise. I, with the aid of a few volunteers who chop cilantro, celery, and onions each week (not to mention kielbasa), have served over 150,000 meals to the poor. And I’m one person.

Cooking, though, is not my only obsession. I have another…Read more

————-
Congrats
to longtime SJSK volunteer David Larkin on his debut novel The Book of Thompson: A Mormon Tragedy. David will be reading excerpts of his novel on Tuesday, June 18 at 7pm at the Parish House at St. Joseph’s Church

UPDATE: We did it! We reached our Fundraising Bake Sale goal! THANK YOU everybody for your support of St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village!  

UPDATE: We did it! We reached our Fundraising Bake Sale goal!

THANK YOU everybody for your support of St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village!  

Volunteers packaging pastries for Bake Sale to raise funds for St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village. Stop by & support us with your purchase of freshly baked pastries! Update: thank you everybody, we reached our fundraising goal. 

Volunteers packaging pastries for Bake Sale to raise funds for St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village.

Stop by & support us with your purchase of freshly baked pastries!
Update: thank you everybody, we reached our fundraising goal. 

378 meals served on May 11, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich VillageIt was soaking rain and guests were welcomed to a bowl of soup. 
The day’s lunch tray is displayed by longtime SJSK volunteer—of 15+ years—none other than Anna! Her fun-loving personality is on full disply in her pose! 
Lunch tray was comprised of soup (kielbasa, turkey or vegetable), salad, bread, cookie, fruit cup, coffee and lemonade.  Volunteer group for the day: NYU Stern Executive MBAs.  

378 meals served on May 11, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village

It was soaking rain and guests were welcomed to a bowl of soup. 

The day’s lunch tray is displayed by longtime SJSK volunteer—of 15+ years—none other than Anna! Her fun-loving personality is on full disply in her pose! 

Lunch tray was comprised of soup (kielbasa, turkey or vegetable), salad, bread, cookie, fruit cup, coffee and lemonade.  

Volunteer group for the day: NYU Stern Executive MBAs.  

380 meals served on April 6, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich VillageWarm weather and a soup kitchen favorite entree were welcomed by guests at St. Joe’s Soup Kitchen. A last minute emergency surgery for scheduled cook Matthew meant that Julia could step in and prepare her SJSK famous King Ranch Casserole.
Our dependable, hard-working and energetic sous chef crew chipped in to prep the food and also make a carrot-raisin salad using carrots donated by Food Bank NYC.  Pictured: SJSK volunteer and cooking maven (she’s on our cooking rotation), Sandra, displays the lunch tray served to guests. King Ranch Casserole, green salad, carrot & raisin salad, bread & lemonade was the meal. A vegetarian option was also served to guests upon request.   

380 meals served on April 6, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village

Warm weather and a soup kitchen favorite entree were welcomed by guests at St. Joe’s Soup Kitchen. A last minute emergency surgery for scheduled cook Matthew meant that Julia could step in and prepare her SJSK famous King Ranch Casserole.

Our dependable, hard-working and energetic sous chef crew chipped in to prep the food and also make a carrot-raisin salad using carrots donated by Food Bank NYC.  

Pictured: SJSK volunteer and cooking maven (she’s on our cooking rotation), Sandra, displays the lunch tray served to guests. King Ranch Casserole, green salad, carrot & raisin salad, bread & lemonade was the meal. A vegetarian option was also served to guests upon request.   

402 meals served on Mar 2, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich VillageKUDOS to our 1st-time cook, Matthew, for leading a team of volunteers in preparing an awesome chili meal! Using grant funds from the New York Food Bank, we cooked with fresh ground beef and turkey instead of cans. Our guests noticed the difference and kept lining up for more and complimenting the all-volunteer cooking team! We also prepared a vegetarian option for guests. Our salad greens were aptly named “Sequestration Salad” to coincide with the hot news topic heading into the weekend. Pictured: SJSK volunteer & 1st time cook, Matthew, holds a lunch tray served to guests. A brimming bowl of delicious & spicy chili, sequestration salad, bread, fruit cup & iced tea were offered to guests. Yum! Yum! Yum! 

402 meals served on Mar 2, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village

KUDOS to our 1st-time cook, Matthew, for leading a team of volunteers in preparing an awesome chili meal! Using grant funds from the New York Food Bank, we cooked with fresh ground beef and turkey instead of cans. Our guests noticed the difference and kept lining up for more and complimenting the all-volunteer cooking team! 

We also prepared a vegetarian option for guests. Our salad greens were aptly named “Sequestration Salad” to coincide with the hot news topic heading into the weekend.

Pictured: SJSK volunteer & 1st time cook, Matthew, holds a lunch tray served to guests. A brimming bowl of delicious & spicy chili, sequestration salad, bread, fruit cup & iced tea were offered to guests. Yum! Yum! Yum! 

Afternoon rush!

St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen volunteers Victoria and Lisa assemble napkin-sets during the meal serving shift. Although morning volunteers fold a few hundred napkin-utensil sets, we sometimes run low while serving guests. An adrenaline rush sets in as volunteers folding napkin-sets work fast to keep pace with the volunteers on the serving line! 

(Source: sjsk)

We recently baked & served a delicious sweet potato & pumpkin pie for our guests to enjoy as part of this year’s Thanksgiving meal (11-17-12). It was a hit with guests and volunteers alike!
Our baking team used NPR's Ultimate Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Pie recipe. As promised, here’s the link to the recipe. Enjoy! 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97314472&sc=emaf 

We recently baked & served a delicious sweet potato & pumpkin pie for our guests to enjoy as part of this year’s Thanksgiving meal (11-17-12). It was a hit with guests and volunteers alike!

Our baking team used NPR's Ultimate Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Pie recipe. As promised, here’s the link to the recipe. Enjoy! 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97314472&sc=emaf

 

Watch as St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen celebrated Thanksgiving on November 17, 2012 with a special holiday meal.

We also had two shirting ceremonies for morning & afternoon volunteers.

Thanks for your support! 

post-Sandy: SJSK open on Sat, Nov 3, 2012!

SJSK will be open and serving PB&J and (possibly) tuna sandwiches to customers on Saturday, Nov 3, 2012. 

VOLUNTEERS hours: 
morning prep shift at 10am
serving shift at 1pm

The power is still out in Greenwich Village; however, with our combined enthusiasm and resourcefulness, we will work diligently to bring operations back to normal at the soup kitchen.  

Thank you and be well, 
St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen 

30 years of service!!

Recipe: Cranberry-Pear Tart in a Walnut Shortbread Crust

For your baking pleasure! St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen (SJSK) recently served guests a Cranberry-Pear Tart in a Walnut Shortbread Crust baked from scratch from a volunteer’s personal favorites recipe; the original recipe is listed below. Enjoy! 

Cranberry Pear Tart in a Walnut Shortbread Crust

Yields one 9-inch tart; serves eight to twelve

For the Walnut Shortbread Crust: 

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5-3/4 ounces (1-1/2 cups) of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 pound (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

For the Cranberry-Pear Filling: 

  • 3 large ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, picked through and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

For the Buttery Brown Sugar Streusel:

  • 1-3/4 ounces (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the crust: 

  • Position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, half-and-half, and vanilla. 
  • Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse until combined. 
  • Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are no longer visible. 
  • With the processor running, add the yolk mixture in a steady stream and then pulse until the moisture is fairly evenly dispersed, 10 to 20 seconds. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl. 
  • Using your hands, mix the chopped walnuts to distribute them evenly. 
  • The dough will be a mealy, crumbly mass. 
  • Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-1/2 inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
  • Starting with the sides of the pan, firmly press the crumbs against the pan to create a crust about 1/4 inch thick. 
  • Press the remaining crumbs evenly agains the bottom of the pan. 
  • Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and freeze for 10 minutes. 
  • Bake until the sides just begin to darken and the bottom is set, about 15 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a cooling rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. 

Make the filling: 

  • Peel the pears, quarter them lengthwise, core, and cut crosswire into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • In a food processor, coarsely chop the cranberries. In a medium bowl, mix the pears, cranberries, and brandy. 
  • In a small bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt; add to the cranberry-pear mixture, tossing to combine. 
  • Spoon the filling into the pan-baked crust, leveling the filling and packing it down slightly with the back of a spoon. 

Make the streusel and bake: 

  • In a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt. 
  • Add the melted butter and vanilla. Combine with your fingers until the mixture begins to clump together in small pieces when pressed. 
  • Sprinkle the streusel over the filling, breaking it into smaller pieces if necessary. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees F until the fruit is tender when pierced with a fork and the streusel and the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 50 minutes. 
  • If the tart begins to get overly brown at the edges, cover with foil. 
  • Let the tart cool on a rack until it’s just barely warm before serving. 
  • The tart will keep, covered and at room temperature, for two to three days.