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Emmaus House of Harlem

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160 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027


History & Legacy

Emmaus House Inc. is a Harlem-based 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1966 by Fr. David Kirk to empower those in need, breaking the cycle of poverty at its root.  Our organization has been a stalwart of service for over 53 years in the Harlem community.

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Father David lived his life according to The Gospels and believed that all people were created equal.

“To be a Christian is to place yourself at the place of suffering.  Where there is suffering, there is God.”

- Father David Kirk

For more about Fr. David Kirk:

Vission & Mission



Emmaus House is a supportive, healing, inclusive, faith-based community for people in transition who empower themselves (and others) to build a society of compassion, opportunity, equity, and justice. Collectively we nurture, heal, build resilience, and lift one another up to our highest potential. Through relationships, we educate and mobilize the larger community to address issues of poverty and injustice while working together for peace and social change.  We strive to heal ourselves, our community, and the world. 



As Emmaus re-imagines itself for the next fifty years, we define our Mission Statement to be:


"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Maya Angelou


At Emmaus House, we celebrate community not by the services we provide, but by the spirit in which we serve.

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Ministries & Programs


Emmaus House focuses on four key areas of service: Self Growth, Advocacy, Training, and Basic Needs.  These four service areas operate as an integrated model for healing, recovery, resilience, learning, and justice.  Services include trauma healing, life skills training, restorative justice, leadership, outreach, food redistribution, and fellowship.

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Food Pantry

Emmaus has provided a food pantry throughout its long history.  Through our food pantry, we not only meet the "basic needs" of our neighbors, but we also use this opportunity to build relationships with our community and learn more about their lives and potential needs.  Emmaus' food pantry is done with great compassion and love.  Pantry is every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month from 10 am-12 pm
Located at the Grace Congregational of Harlem
310 West 139th Street 
New York, NY 10030

Soup Run

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Our soup run provides us the opportunity once a week to walk the streets of Harlem and distribute 50 meals to those in need.  This engagement provides great insight into the current challenges of the Harlem homeless community.  It also provides the opportunity to engage with police officers and local businesses to keep in touch with current developments in our neighborhood.  In many ways, providing soup is but a vehicle to initiate conversation, to deepen our relationship and understand their unique circumstance as to serve them better. The homeless have been mostly nameless and we strive to know each of them by name.


Community Meal

Our organization has a long history of "breaking bread" with our neighbors.  Our community meal is a time where our staff, volunteers, and neighbors sit down for great food and fellowship.  Many of our food pantry families join us for this time of sharing.  This meal provides a way to slow down and reconnect to regularly restore community faith and strength.

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Coming Home Program

The Coming Home Program (CH) was created to help previously incarcerated individuals re-integrate into society. There are many social barriers for people returning from prison that make the re-entry challenging. Coming Home seeks to accompany people on this journey, set goals, heal from past traumas, become active citizens, as we grow together as individuals within supportive community. 

CH has seen great success, reducing trauma scores, increasing coping skills, and generating nearly zero recidivism. In addition to the individual success in our participants, the program has also opened the hearts and minds of the larger CH community which includes many passionate volunteers. CH has helped to educate and mobilize a broader group of people who are motivated to reform our current failing system of punishment, address underlying systemic issues like racism and systemic poverty, and to work for social change and restorative justice. 

After eleven successful years of research and programming, CH has been replicated at other faith-based groups. Emmaus will commence its first program in the fall of 2020.

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The CH team includes:
William Eric Waters
Change Agent, Criminal Justice Professional

William has 25 years experience in the criminal justice system, including experience in criminal, family and immigration law as a researcher and writer. Waters is an award-winning author in poetry, playwriting, and non-fiction. He has received numerous awards for his work in criminal justice and Citizens Against Recidivism names an award after him, The William Eric Waters Bridge Builder Award.

Sally Baker
Non-Profit Leader, Consultant, Coach, Founder and Executive Director of Girls Inc. Westchester

Theresa Colyer
Psychiatric Nurse, Community organizer, Coming home facilitator

More About the Coming Home Program:



Welcome to the Coming Home volunteer training! 

The purpose of this training is to introduce the Coming Home program (CH), how to support and accompany a person on their re-entry/reintegration journey, and how to create hope, opportunity and healing to a formerly incarcerated person. This course will provide you with the information you need to get started as a volunteer and includes videos, articles and other educational resources. Thank you for participating in Coming Home!



Dr. Dawn Ravella

Executive Director

Dr. Ravella has 28 years experience mobilizing faith communities on social justice issues. Her Doctoral dissertation focused on the transformation of community members engaged in Coming Home Prison re-entry. She serves as Adjunct Professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Work, and is a collaborator with Beck Institute for Religion and Poverty researching and replicating the Coming Home Program. 

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Sequan Prude

Program Director

Sequan utilizes his diverse background to lead all operations relating to the Food Pantry, Soup Run, and case management. He works closely with the Executive Director on all initiatives. Sequan serves as part of the leadership team for our Coming Home Program.  He supervises volunteers, interns and oversees case management.

Board of Directors

KIRK BARRELL, President and Treasurer, Amelia Resources, Louisiana

WILLIAM SOUTHREY, Vice President, Haven Inc., New Jersey

MARC GREENBERG, Secretary, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, New York

Advisory Board

KARIM KASPAR, Lowenstein Sandler, New Jersey


Message From Our President

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For the past fourteen years, I have been honored and humbled to lead Emmaus House after the passing of my uncle, the late Father David Kirk.  We strive to continue his mission of serving our neighbors in Harlem.  At Emmaus, we treat all equally and serve with humility. Please join us as we continue to share compassion to our community.  Your time, talent, and treasures are the best gifts to your neighbor.

Kirk A. Barrell, President



The concept of "living in community" is a foundational concept of Emmaus. Father David first experienced community when living at the Catholic Worker with Dorothy Day prior to his founding of Emmaus.

At Emmaus, our community includes all people who come to share in our mission.  Our neighbors, staff, and volunteers work side-by-side to serve with compassion and seek justice for all.  It is when we are working together that we learn the most about others and ourselves.



Emmaus House couldn't operate without a strong volunteer group. Come get to know our community at the Food Pantry. Experience the streets of Harlem on our weekly Soup Run. Experience the power of community at our family meal. Learn about restorative justice at a Coming Home event.

For more information, please contact our Executive Director, Dawn Ravella, at

If you're interested in volunteering,

please click here and fill out our volunteer form

Contact Us


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