The Midnight Run consists of a group of volunteers who drive vans into Manhattan to minister to the homeless. Typically members of our Youth Group, accompanied by some adults, make these Runs twice a year. The groups follow a route determined by the main office in Dobbs Ferry, which attempts to ensure that all of the known stops are visited equitably over a period of time. Our Church is one of a consortium of groups who offer cheer to those less fortunate.
The volunteers bring food for the people on the street: bag lunches, hot soup and coffee, or cold beverages in warm weather. Clothing is collected beforehand so that the vans will be stocked with new underwear and as many clean tee shirts, jeans, sneakers and socks as can be gathered. In cold weather they distribute jackets, sweatshirts, gloves, hats and other warm attire. Bags of toiletries containing soap, shampoo, razors, toothpaste and brushes are also handed out.
While the food, drink, toiletries and clothing are greatly appreciated, one of the most valuable components for everyone is the opportunity for people to relate to each other on a one-to-one basis. It is the personal conversations between the homeless and the volunteers that prove the most heartwarming part of the experience.
Many people can contribute to this effort whether or not they choose to go on a Run. Helpers are needed to make soup and lunches, other people are needed to gather and organize clothing, while still others can sort and bag toiletries.
There is a strong sense of satisfaction felt by those who have contributed to any aspect of a Run.