Thank you to all who contributed to the successful Midnight Run on March 10. The work started at noon when the Youth Group began assembling bag lunches. Over the next three hours we built stacks of hearty turkey and ham sandwiches, baked trays of chocolate chip cookies and put everything together to make 104 lunches! Each bag featured hand-drawn designs and pictures to give a personal touch.
Our Midnight Run team arrived at church at 5:30 to load the van with everything from winter coats, sweaters, shirts, pants, socks, underwear, scarves & hats to the toiletry kits assembled by the middle school class and the lunches made that afternoon. Finally, essential components on a cold night, giant urns of hot soup and coffee, prepared by the church school classes and Bud & Gloria Coccodrilli, were loaded.
At last we were off! As we arrived at our first few stops with small groups of people, we began to worry that the early hour (particularly with the time change), had thrown people off. “Are we in the wrong place?” “Is it the wrong time?” “Maybe it’s a good sign- that there’s less homeless in New York.” Unfortunately, we learned that this was not the case as we arrived at our last stop: St Bart’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue.
Dozens of homeless people slept, talked, or wandered near the front of this landmark. By day, this strip of sidewalk across the street from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel would have been packed with well-dressed Manhattanites, businessmen, wealthy shoppers, and tourists, but at night it was crowded with a different society all together. Luckily, we had a van full of clothing, food, and supplies to give.
We stayed well past the time when we had meant to head home, making sure that everyone had all that they needed. Despite the size of the crowd and their desperate living situation, there were no fights and no arguments- no pushing, or shoving, or raised voices. People stood back and waited their turn, and we kept busy serving food and searching for the items they needed.
Our Sabbath may not have been restful, but on the ride home, as our energetic discussions gave way to sleepy exhaustion, I couldn’t help but feel closer to God than ever.
~ Kelly Humphrey