Midnight Run

Midnight Run is a volunteer organization dedicated to finding common ground between the housed and the homeless.


Parishoners meet at the Church by 8pm and return to the Church by 12am.  For more information or to volunteer please contact George Hazlaris at ghazyouth@optonline.net 914-967-2838 or Brian Rieke at brieke@stamfordtent.com.

In over 900 relief missions per year, Midnight Run volunteers from churches, synagogues, schools and other civic groups distribute food, clothing, blankets and personal care items to the homeless poor on the streets of New York City. The late-night relief efforts create a forum for trust, sharing, understanding and affection. That human exchange, rather than the exchange of goods, is the essence of the Midnight Run mission.

Midnight Run is not a solution to homelessness. Their goal is to forge a bond between housed and homeless people by establishing a foundation of sharing and caring from which solutions may evolve. Through Midnight Run, volunteers come to see the homeless as real people, not a commodity. And homeless men and women learn that many mainstream adults and teenagers have commitments and concerns that go beyond their own lives and families.

Midnight Run has established some policies that are not obvious to the uninitiated, but are important to protecting the interests of volunteers and people on the street alike. Here’s a rundown:

  • Publicity. We do not allow reporters on runs. In general, we discourage publicity. The interests of people on the street are not served by revealing to a broad audience either their identities or where they lay their heads at night. If you have specific concerns regarding publicity, please contact us directly.
  • Cameras. We do not allow cameras on runs. See Publicity above.
  • Cash. We never give money to anyone on a Midnight Run. This would set a bad precedent for subsequent groups.
  • Evangelism. Midnight Run is comprised of volunteers from many faiths, as well as secular volunteers. We all share an agenda of solidarity with the homeless. Many volunteers base their involvement on their personal religious beliefs, which is fine. But promoting those religious beliefs, or distributing literature, is forbidden. We do not, however, put restrictions on private conversations, as long as they do not constitute proselytizing.
  • Neighborliness. We are committed to being good neighbors to city residents and officials. In that effort, we have put together a series of good neighbor guidelines.
  • Security. In eighteen years, we have never had a volunteer injured in an interaction on the street. But New York City can be a dangerous place. So, we require that volunteers stay in pairs when they go to wake someone, and that they stay in sight of vehicles at all times (except when accompanied by an experienced leader).
  • Health. If you find someone in need of medical care, call 911 and stay until help arrives. Please don’t touch anyone who is bleeding.

FOOD
Each volunteer group is responsible for food preparation for its run. You may use the Midnight Run kitchen and containers, but you must leave them as clean as you found them. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare and bring:

  • Bag meals. Between 100 and 150. These should include:
    • A hearty sandwich. See fuller description in our Sandwich Guide.
    • Fruit. Something durable like an orange or banana. Apples are okay in some meals, but hard for those with missing teeth to eat. Individual fruit cups are okay (with spoon).
    • A hard-boiled egg or a high protein equivalent.
    • A juice box.
    • A dessert or two. Granola bars are fine, and sweet things—such as cookies, candy bars and brownies—are much appreciated.
  • Soup or chili. Three to five gallons. Should be hearty and hot.
  • Coffee or cocoa. Three to five gallons.
  • Bottled water. One or two flats.
  • Lemonade or iced tea. In warm months. Three to five gallons.
  • Paper cups and spoons to serve 75. Drink cup lids recommended.
  • A ladle for the soup.

If you have leftover food at the end of the run, you can leave it with one of the soup kitchens or shelters listed in Food Drop Locations.

 


CLOTHING
Each group should supply as much of the men’s seasonal clothes as it can, using the Midnight Run supplies as a supplement. All clothing should be thoroughly sorted before the night of the run—first by type and then by size. Best way to size is to staple tags of paper to the garment rather than writing on it directly. All packaging on new clothes should be removed so that there is no temptation for folks to sell what we distribute. Clothes should be arranged in open bins or boxes to ease distribution out of a crowded van in the wee hours.

We try to bring a full range of sizes on each run. But if you meet someone on the street who has an unusual request, see provisions for Special Order Runs.

Here’s what you should collect and sort for a typical run, with the most essential items at the top (the priority of items changes with the season; this list applies to summer runs):

  • Durable pants. Again, large sizes are preferred, but sort into waist sizes between 32 and 40 and above, with inseam size marked. Blue jeans are preferred over khakis. Mostly men’s sizes, but bring five or so pairs of women’s pants as well.
  • Shorts. shorts with pockets (hiking shorts, cut-off blue jeans, etc.) are preferable to gym shorts. Bring a few, but they’re less popular than pants.
  • Socks. Tube socks, rolled in pairs. White or dark.
  • Underpants. Jockey style. Sizes 32 through 42. Bring a few pairs of women’s briefs as well.
  • Sweatshirts and long-sleeve shirts. Large and extra large. Dark colors preferred. Hooded sweatshirts are especially useful.
  • T-shirts. Medium through extra large. Any color.
  • Hats. Knit and warm for winter. Baseball caps for summer.
  • Shoes. Sizes 9 through 12 and above. Lightly worn sneakers or athletic shoes (no spikes), soft-soled shoes and work boots are preferred.
  • Belts.
  • Backpacks. Not essential, but coveted by folks on the street.

TOILETRIES
Each group should put together toiletry kits in advance of the run. Collect travel sizes of the various items, and assemble into kits using gallon size zip-lock bags. Some drug stores will sell these travel size items in bulk at wholesale if you explain what you’re doing. And Midnight Run has some supplies to supplement what you’re missing.

If you can’t assemble full kits, bring what you can. Individual items are welcomed as well, and are more appropriate for someone who is looking for just a bar of soap, or who has a beard and doesn’t need the razor and shaving cream. Try to bring 40 to 60 kits, and some loose items as well.

The small size items are important, as full-size items are cumbersome to carry for people on the street. Toiletry items to bring, in order of importance:

  • Soap.
  • Toothbrush.
  • Toothpaste.
  • Shampoo.
  • Washcloth.
  • Razor.
  • Shaving Cream.
  • Deodorant.
  • Lip balm or moisturizer.
  • Feminine hygiene products. Small supply.
  • No Candy! Candy in toiletry kits (it’s happened) yields soap-flavored chocolate!

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