For many years, the Campus Ministry at St. John's University has been working with the Midnight Run Organization to feed and clothe people who are homeless in Manhattan. Students volunteer to make sandwiches and distribute these sandwiches along with clothing to different parts of Manhattan. However, that is not the only thing they do. A vital part of the Midnight Run is to get to know the men and women they meet.
The Midnight Run has become a very popular service event that many people are eager to participate in. Thus, one needs to sign up very early in order to earn one of the ten precious spots available each night. Luckily for the S.T.A.R. family, the S.T.A.R. coordinators reserved a night, way in advance, just for them.
On November 6th, several members of the S.T.A.R. family met up with the leaders of the Midnight Run that night at O'Connor Hall. There, we made 50 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, 25 turkey & cheese sandwiches, and 25 ham & cheese sandwiches. Afterwards, we put 1 pb&j sandwich, 1 meat (turkey or ham) sandwich, 1 banana, 1 juicebox, 1 napkin, and a couple pieces of candy in each plastic bag. To differentiate the turkey and ham sandwiches, we tied the plastic bags with turkey sandwiches. While everyone was cleaning up, two of us went to Montgoris Dining Hall to get a huge container of coffee and soup. An interesting thing is that Chartwells, which is in charge of the food at Montgoris, is separate from St. John's and is always willing to donate any coffee or soup they have that night to a Midnight Run. Once the van was packed and ready to go, we drove down to Midtown. Our stops were E 50th St & Lexington Ave (outside a store named Bloom), W 53rd St & 5th Ave (outside St. Thomas Church), and W 51st St & Broadway (outside Times Square Church). Throughout the night, we met many regulars and talked to several people. One person we had the honor of meeting was Malcolm Bonds, the Vice President of Midnight Run. He was a down to earth homeless man filled with wisdom and insight. Everyone knew him and he knew everyone. He told us many stories and how he was always happy to see St. John's students volunteering because they want to be there to help others. It was a blessed experience meeting wonderful people, hearing their stories, and having people excited and grateful to see us.
If you haven't done a Midnight Run yet, it is a MUST before you graduate St. John's!