Friday night will be memorable for its bitter cold, single degree temps. That did not deter a group of Brunswick School students teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club Keystone Club in an effort to meet and help homeless people, face to face.
The experience was not only a chance for teens from the private school and the Club kids to get to know each other, but to share a valuable mission. Working under the auspices of Midnight Run, a non profit organization dedicated to finding common ground between the housed and the homeless, the teens met up at the Boys & Girls Club where they organized voluminous donations of warm winter clothing, toiletries and food.
After a short break for dinner, the teens piled into vans and headed to New York City where several stops were scheduled of approximately 15 minutes each, starting at 9:30pm.
“People are waiting for us at each stop,” explained Amy Kerekes, the Director of Community Service at Brunswick. “The stops are usually at a house of worship or community center. We talk to people and hear all of their personal stories. A lot of them are just down on their luck.
At each stop the conversations flow. The human exchange is the hallmark of Midnight Run. The interactions create a forum for trust, sharing, understanding and affection.
Henry Putnam, an 11th grader at Brunswick, said he had previously made several trips through Midnight Run, and was back because he felt the effort was important.
“It may sound corny or clichéd, but it’s life changing. We live in such comfort, but we talk to them and there are a lot of them who have just been dealt a bad hand,” Henry said. “We learn why they’ve become homeless, and for 99% of them it’s a choice.”
The itinerary for the evening started with stops in midtown before heading to lower Manhattan and a stop in the area near Foley Square.
More information on Midnight Run is available online.