This fall the CPC Emerging Missions team took on a big project–could we as a church run our own trips into NYC to distribute food and clothing to the homeless? We began working with an organization in New York called Midnight Run (thanks to a tip from Pastor Don). We would be assigned certain stops in NYC–Midnight Run communicates with people on the streets about their needs and where/when we will arrive. The distribution of items (bag lunches, coats, hats, drinks, socks, underwear and toiletries) is similar to Bridges Run, but WE are responsible for providing all of the donated items. The format gives us more responsibility, but with it comes greater reward for all of those involved. Additionally, Midnight Run has been a terrific organization to partner with–they are responsive and helpful and have shepherded us along the steep learning curve.
We faced a lot of unknowns……would we be able to generate enough donations? Would we get enough high schoolers to serve on the runs? How and where would we store the supplies?
We are happy to report that thanks to countless volunteers–we have successfully completed 6 runs so far (about one per month starting in September). We have learned from each run, and gotten better and more efficient as we go. To date we have delivered over 600 bag lunches (a sandwich, drink, fruit and cereal bar); 6 cases of water, lemonade, gallons of hot chocolate; 100 warm winter coats in February, about 75 jeans/pants, cases of socks and underwear; and numerous toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and soap. Additionally, we have had the privilege of distributing handmade hats from our prayer shawl knitting group.
We have had over 45 different high schoolers participate on our runs–something of which we are enormously proud. And they have conducted themselves with grace, dignity, humor and love. Additionally, 10 different adult chaperones have driven our youth and supplies into the city. Be sure to ask them about their experiences–it is really relatively easy–the kids do a lot of the work.
We hope you will consider joining us–there are many ways to participate:chaperoning bag lunch making in the kitchen, shopping at Costco for food supplies, running a clothing drive in your neighborhood, driving on one run, donating items to our “Stockpile Sundays”. Please consider joining us –you will be happy you did. As Adam so beautifully sang in church a few weeks ago, “With every act of love, we bring the kingdom come. Jesus, help us carry you, alive in us, your light shines through, with every act of love.”
The Emerging Missions Team: Leah Griffith, Sarah Engle, Lori Donohue, LeeAnn Lowman, Colleen McCaffrey, Kathy Weida