A caravan of seven cars stuffed with clothes, food, toiletries and 40 volunteers made its way into Manhattan last week to help the homeless during Our Lady of Lourdes biannual Midnight Run.
More than 150 community organizations participate in the program, which began in a Dobbs Ferry church in 1984. OLL became involved during the summer of 2014, said Linda Baldacchino, youth ministry director for OLL who coordinates OLL’s Midnight Run.
Most of the supplies given to the homeless come from parishioner or corporate donations. “Superbowl weekend is our big collection,” Baldacchino said. “Toiletries we get through hotel donations and we fill in other stuff like deodorant.”
Baldacchino said the homeless know the Midnight Run’s schedule and feel comfortable to ask for needed items. “They’ll say, ‘I need this’ and we’ll direct them to which car so they can find what they’re looking for,” Baldacchino said. One car was packed with socks, underwear and backpacks, another had men’s clothing, one carried women’s, another toiletries and one held sneakers.
OLL’s Rev. Michael Duffy, who experienced Midnight Run for the first time, said that watching the youth ministry serve the homeless was one of the proudest moments of his priesthood. “They truly were Jesus’ hands and feet that night,” Duffy said. “It was an evening none of us will forget.”