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On a snow-covered Thursday morning this past February, in a large multi-purpose room inside a church in Hoboken, more than 50 homeless people congregated around cafeteria-style tables waiting for a cup of coffee and a warm meal at a Hoboken soup kitchen. Here, we learned about their stories, and discovered a cast of unassuming heroes committed to making their visitors’ day just a little brighter.
By 9 a.m. there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. The room was a mix of people chattering with others or strewn on the stage napping, their first chance to let their guard down and shake off the cold. In one corner, a social worker stood ready to provide services. In another corner, THE NORTHERN TRUST PGA TOUR tournament staff eagerly awaited direction. “Good morning!” called out a small, energetic woman as she swung open the big red door punctuating the background noise, immediately prompting smiles and happy responses. She strolled across the room and into the kitchen where she set down her belongings and got right to work cleaning the dirty dishes filling in the sink.
“That’s Maria, she’s been volunteering here since 2012 after Hurricane Sandy, everyone knows her,” stated a young man named Spike as he smiled and waved to her.
Stanley “Spike” Enzweiler is the supervisor of the Lunchtime Ministry at St. Matthew-Trinity Lutheran Church. The 28-year-old, who moved to New Jersey from Kentucky to volunteer for the Hoboken Shelter, now oversees the entire operation at the Lunchtime Ministry. From securing food donations to assembling volunteers, Spike’s heart and soul is poured into the Ministry daily. He knows the guests by name, living situation and personal preferences.
“It’s not just about the meals, the Ministry is a place where our guests can just chill,” said Spike when asked what makes the Lunchtime Ministry different than other organizations in the area. In addition to the warm meals and great coffee, the Ministry also provides clothes, toiletries, haircuts, and a handful of other services to support the homeless and low-income population in Hudson County.
For many guests of the soup kitchen, the meal they eat in the Ministry might be the only meal they have all day. To combat this, a spirited woman named Rose makes it her duty to assemble sandwiches that can be eaten then and there or taken for later. Having just discovered a donation from Vito’s Deli and a rather generous portion of salami, among other deli items, Rose called upon the tournament staff to perform the coveted job of sandwich making, a task that Rose has down to an art.
Salami and provolone sandwiches were one of five items the tournament staff helped to prepare and serve that day at the Lunchtime Ministry. Spending time with organizations in Hudson County is a significant part of THE NORTHERN TRUST tournament staff’s personal mission. It’s more than just about being a good neighbor and assisting the communities where the tournament is played—it’s about connecting with the people and the organizations who are changing lives every single day. On this cold winter day, while giving back and supporting a worthy cause, THE NORTHERN TRUST team wound up discovering a small but powerful team of Community Champions within a Hoboken soup kitchen.
It’s thanks to the support from area restaurants like Vito’s Deli in Hoboken that the Ministry can provide guests with a larger array of food options and meet any dietary restrictions guests may have. Along with the support of passionate helpers and returning volunteers, donations from members of the community help the Lunchtime Ministry keep their doors open and services available to all.
For information on how you can support the organization, please visit http://lunchtimeministry.webs.com.
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