Samson Dipson is a volunteer at the very same soup kitchen that used to serve him. He stands outside the soup kitchen cutting the chilly air with a puffy vest, striped sweater and warm hat. He has big brown eyes, a graying goatee and a kind smile. “Drugs were my first love,” admits Samson. “Drugs took me out of my character so I couldn’t pay my bills.” Eventually, Samson supported his drug addiction with any means necessary and ended up on the street. Hitting rock bottom, Samson went to rehab and found several soup kitchens around New York City to keep from going hungry. There were people at the soup kitchens with good hearts who helped him get his life back on track.
“To be served makes you feel like a giant. To have a stranger humbly, generously serve you food when you are hungry, it is just overwhelming. That hospitality is a beautiful thing.” Now that Samson is clean and stable, he has moved from being served to being the server. Not only do the kitchens provide much needed food, there are people at the kitchen who can listen, who can help. For people who want and are ready for help, finding an advocate at the soup kitchen is a great gift.
Samson believes in the power of soup kitchens both as the server and the served. When hungry people are welcomed in out of the cold to be fed, it fills the spirit up and helps people get well. Samson is now a published author with two books about his bout with homelessness available on Amazon. He attributes his success in part to the hospitality he received at the soup kitchen when he was at his lowest point. The food, the warmth, the welcome and the patient encouragement he found there changed his life for good.