There is a program in the New York area called Midnight Run. Its goal is to provide homeless people with food, clothing and conversation, and was actually started by the homeless who brought food to those who could not get to the soup kitchen. The program has evolved so that it is now run by a single (formerly homeless) man who lives in a storefront in Dobbs Ferry, NY. This man sends faxes and e-mails to those who want to help with Midnight Runs, giving locations where the people are seeking help.
When I participated, the night began at eight p.m. Clothes and toiletries were collected and sorted. Bag lunches, hot coffee and soup were prepared. At ten we drove into New York City. Directed by addresses from the fax, we arrived at our first stop. Anxiety was felt throughout the group. We got out of the vans and walked around saying, "Midnight Run." A few people came up to the vans. Everyone knew about the program. They came and ate soup, drank coffee and began to talk. The conversations were unbelievable. Some started talking about sports, one man had a website, another was a recovering drug addict. People reacted in different ways to us. Most were thankful and talkative. Some took what they needed and left. Only a handful completely refused help. By far the most important thing we gave to these people was conversation. Most we met were very independent and had relatives they could go to, but would rather manage by themselves. We returned at two a.m. The Midnight Run had been a success.
Midnight Run is a great program. If anyone lives in the New York area, I
encourage them to
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.