What do you do when you don’t know your way around an area, slightly handicap and new to the whole shelter system? Well, I gravitated, to the only thing that I have always felt safe with- Books = Library. Yep, with shelter residential letter in hand since I was from another state and had no ID for the New York area, I found the nearest public library. That place became my beat and closest friend. I suffer from Diabetic Ulcers on both feet, so for me to actually get up everyday and make the 2.5 block trek going and coming back that in itself was a chore for me but I did it.
It provided me with a means of escape form the craziness of the shelter – trust me 200 women in one area – way too much drama. Everyday the police was there to assist with some type of altercation. I would make a joke and just say that they needed to purchase some property across the street and just set up a command post there it would be so easy and they could just walk across the street. You got to know by sight the officers that were the regular response team, it was never just one car but usually three cars that always came to address. the concern.
Some days in the center were just down right depressing so I needed go fond some other place to be. I made friends with the library attendants there and one beautiful lady there would allow me on Mondays and Fridays to come to the lab center that she operated and I could use the library computers uninterrupted for 2 hours. Thank you C, for the privilege.
The library had a 1/2 hour curfew on the computers and one really can’t get anything done in half and hour, but you could return again three times to reserve a computer spot. Thursday was a really good day if you went early in the morning – the library was not crowded and you might just get lucky and get to spend one hour straight before getting booted off. So I spent this time going on Housing Connect. Housing Connect is the Lottery system for new and upcoming Low and Affordable building that were being built in New York.
One day, I happened to see one of the residents walking down the street it was during lunch time at my shelter and I learned to miss some of those days – The food was lousy and usually a day old when it came to the salad and I have an aversion to spending half my meal time picking out old brown lettuce because you made too much the day before and just did not care that we knew the salad was old that you left the brown pieces in there. Besides the lunch was usually standard – cold ham or turkey slices with whole wheat bread, american cheese and water occasionally we had boxes of fresh oranges, apples or pears. I always stocked up on the pears – hard as a rock but held for three days in one’s locker if you can get food pass security and they were so sweet not to mention they could make your day by being your best meal.
Anyway, she asked me if I was going to the pantry for a hot meal. Hot meal? pantry? Where at!!!!!!! down the block right behind the library that I had been visiting for two months. Tuesday – Friday from 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, hot hearty lunches were served by New Hope Church. Not only that but EVERY Saturday, was open pantry day – dry goods, fresh vegetables, juices, bread, bagels and meat on occasions. The one thing that you had to do was to be patient and just sign a sheet no ID needed. Thanksgiving and Christmas – I was blessed with a Holiday Dinner and a new jacket: also won a raffle and received a nice warm blanket. This church is to be commented for it’s outreach programs.
As of January 2017, they have extended the meals program to include breakfast every Monday at 10 AM. Come and join their prayer service as well, you will not be disappointed.