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Pizza With Our Pal Ernesto

I had the pleasure of having pizza with Ernesto last night and I learned how he ended up sleeping on the steps of the church. Friday night when delivering socks I approached him and told him I was "dropping off some socks and a little Christmas surprise" and he poked his head out of his blanket and said "do you have any sandwiches" I told him I would bring him a sandwich the next night, ham and cheese with mayo is what he wanted. Well on our way to the GWB Carol said "why don't we bring him a sandwich now, he's hungry NOW" so we did and he was so grateful. So I asked him, "what do you want for dinner tomorrow, I just happen to pass by here every weekend, I will bring you dinner" He insisted he was fine with the sandwich but he then mentioned he loved pizza. So last night we did exactly that, we brought him a pizza and a soda and some more socks and some water. But we didn't drop it off on the steps. When I pulled up to the church he was actually lying there facing the street, which is uncharacteristic of him, his face already out of the blanket....He was WAITING FOR US! We had paper plates and napkins and we got out and we had a pizza party with him. This is when I learned his name was Ernesto and that he was from a few blocks away but his parents both passed away and left him homeless. He has been living on the street for 2 years. He gets to shower twice a week at the church and they feed him during the week, but he said the shelters are so filthy and disgusting and people are so mean that he is better off sleeping on the steps. He told us about his friends who sleep on the next block and he said he was going to share his pizza with them. By the end of our pizza party, he ate the whole pie. His little area was so neat and clean and he was just the most appreciative humble man I have ever met. I learned when my daughter was looking for a new apartment in NY that the average salary must be 40 times the rent!!! WHAT? This is why there are so many people living on the street. Who can even afford that? Next week, Ernesto is getting his favorite, Lasagna. I am making a promise to myself that every time I am in the city he will not go hungry for that day. Please everyone, find it in your heart to help your own "Ernesto". Their story could be as simple as the passing of family members or as complicated as drug addiction or mental illness. Regardless of how they got there, they don't want to be there. Socks donations are always welcome. Please pm and I will pick them up! xxxooo

- Lori

(originally posted to the Socks for Homeless Soles Facebook page on December 13th, 2015)

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