On a recent downtown R train subway ride, the train pulled into the station, the doors opened and then riders heard two men speaking in unison: “Ladies and gentlemen, sorry for the interruption. Is there anyone on this train who is hungry, especially children?”
Just like that – free food is given to the homeless and hungry as stated on their gray T-shirts. Five men push three carts with sandwiches, granola bars, fruit and juices and gave them to anyone who asked.
“You don’t have to be homeless to be hungry,” said Rolando “Divine” Farrow, the founder of Food For The Homeless, whose mission is to feed as many hungry New Yorkers as he can.
Three years ago he was hungry and homeless himself. A stranger on a subway gave him a sandwich. This simple gesture led him on a path of wanting to help others in similar life situations.
Divine is on a public assistance program and lives in the Bronx. Donations on the subway and on the streets are the only sources of money for his mission. He does not travel alone. His colleague from Staten Island Henry Thomas, 38, and others help him feed hungry New Yorkers every day. Thomas lived in a shelter for seven years before he met Divine two years ago. Now they feed nearly 200 people every day.
“We have people who depend on us. They look for us to come by,” said Thomas.
Early in the morning, six days a week, they prepare sandwiches, fill each of three cooler carts with nearly $100 worth of supplies and start to make their way through the subway web.
“The main thing we are trying to do is to give nutritious food,” said Divine.
Along with fresh sandwiches they share information about shelters, where to get a free hot meal and free clothing.
“I believe that one person can make a difference in the world and everyone should at least try,” said Thomas.