This past week, the Manresa Program partnered with Fordham’s Global Outreach program, commonly known as GO!, to participate in a Midnight Run service project. Midnight Run is an organization that was started in the 1980s, when homelessness ravaged NYC. It distributes food, clothing, and toiletries to those in need in Manhattan. The Midnight Runs take place every night and different schools, churches, and civic groups sign up for a day to participate. Fordham signs up for a Midnight Run once a month. Fordham Campus Ministry’s Pedro Arrupe Faith and Justice Community helps to prepare the sandwiches and snack bags beforehand. Then, GO! organizes the run itself.
According to the Midnight Run organization’s website,
[the] 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.
We experienced this bond first hand.
There were three different places in Manhattan where we stopped to distribute our supplies. After each stop, on the way to the next, the group commented on what we noticed that went against our preconceived notions and stereotypes of homeless people. Many people were shocked to realize how easy it was to speak to them, especially since in any other setting they would probably not pay much attention to them at all. Other people were pleased that, while homeless people are typically outcast from society, they are not necessarily completely alone. The community within homeless people is quite strong, to the point where some people were taking clothing items for their friends and walking down the block to inform other people of our location in case they needed food or clothing from our truck.
The Midnight Run enabled us to step outside of our busy lives at Fordham and start to think about those who do not have the opportunities that we do. We were able to realize that whether homeless or housed, there are not so many differences between us. We are all people, and we should be treated as such. Thank you, Midnight Run, for helping us to see more clearly.
Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017
Manresa Scholars Program Intern, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016
In-House Academic Tutor, 2016-2017