When you work at a soup kitchen you get to know the "regulars," the people you serve food to week in and week out. You hardly ever know their names, but you remember their faces, their smiles, their looks of appreciation when you hand them a plate of hot, nutritious food.

Last week after I finished serving, I noticed a table of "regulars" in the back of the room. I knew them all by sight, except for one man who was sitting at the end of the table, not saying much, just concentrating on his food.

Then I saw one of the regulars finish his meal and get up to return his tray. Before he left the table, he stopped for a few seconds, put his hand on the shoulder of the new man, and I heard him say, "You're going to be all right."

The new man smiled and then resumed eating. I thought to myself, "Haven't each of us, at some dark moment in our lives, needed a helping hand? Needed a few quiet words of encouragement?"

This soup kitchen is part of the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) and we serve lunch to more than 2,000 men, women, and children every week. For many of the children we feed, this meal is their first of the day. For many of the seniors we feed, this might be their only meal of the day. Many veterans depend on the INN for both food and shelter.

If you've had some good fortune in your life, please consider sharing it with those who haven't been as blessed. Make a contribution in whatever amount is comfortable for you-every $25 we receive helps us feed 10 hungry Long Islanders.

Donations may be mailed to: Dave Golbert, 7 Lee Court West, Great Neck, NY 11024. Please make your check payable to: The Interfaith Nutrition Network.

To donate food, clothing, or personal hygiene items, please call 917-418-2451 or email: davegolbert@yahoo.com. We also need volunteers to help serve at the soup kitchen.

"Let no one go hungry while there is food on our table."

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