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Our partnership with St. Joe’s Soup Kitchen began in December 2019 when they joined us at First Church, operating out of our South Wing. The soup kitchen serves all who are hungry - some are homeless, while others’ income simply doesn’t cover expenses. Regardless, they provide an unconditional welcome to all, serving meals every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. throughout the year. Volunteers are always welcome to help with meal preparation and distribution shifts; during the pandemic, St. Joe’s is serving to-go meals, but still welcomes volunteer support! *Follow the link here to sign up for a shift!* St. Joe’s is an independent 501(c)3 organization and has served the Greenwich Village community for over 40 years. You can find more information on their website here.
In September 2020, First Church officially joined Faith Communities for Just ReEntry, a coalition of over 40 faith communities from across NYC working to change the way our city interacts with our neighbors leaving Rikers Island and other city jails. Each year, fifteen to twenty thousand New Yorkers are caught in the cycle of homelessness and incarceration. Four in every five are people of color. During the pandemic, over 2,500 people have been released, many without ID, medication, or COVID tests. The policy platform of Just ReEntry includes the following items:
I. Provide safety for incarcerated individuals released during COVID-19
– Provide ID upon release
– Effectively transition people's healthcare from Rikers to their community
– Test every individual for COVID-19 during the discharge process.
II. Unlock housing supply for justice-involved individuals and their families.
– End NYCHA permanent exclusions
– Reform chronicity criteria
– Increase supply and value of housing vouchers and combat landlord discrimination
– Leverage city/state funds to create new supportive, transitional, and affordable housing
III. Develop a coordinated reentry system accountable to the well-being of each person.
Contact Nicole Stansifer, our Director of Outreach, at [email protected] if you are interested in joining our Just ReEntry team at First Church.
Follow the link here to visit their website and learn more about Faith Communities for Just ReEntry.