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BJ Teens: Midnight Running

Growing up in New York City, I have unfortunately grown accustomed to passing homeless people on the street and subways. It’s a daily occurrence and I often experience both compassion and also a feeling of hopelessness—that there is nothing I can really do about it since I am only one person.

My name is Josh Bromberg and I have been a BJ member for longer than I can remember. More recently I’ve become part of the BJ Teen program, and it’s already become such an important part of my life. One of my favorite parts of the BJ Teen program is Midnight Run. Midnight Run is an event where the BJ teens work alongside the Midnight Run organization to deliver basic necessities to those in need such as toiletries, clothing, a hot beverage, and many other items that these people may need.

Once a year, we send out a notice to the BJ community asking for specific items to be donated, and then on a Saturday night after Shabbat has ended, the teens come together to sort and organize the items to deliver. Then we load everything up into a series of cars driven by our parents and set out to predetermined spots throughout Manhattan to deliver the items to those in need. At every stop, we get out of the car and assist each person in finding their size and the items that they need. We try to help them get what best suits them, listening to find out what they want and what isn’t of interest or of value—it feels good to be able to give people in need a choice and some agency, and to know that we are actually making a difference and perhaps helping to bring a smile to someone’s face. Midnight Run is so special to me because it is a time when I am really able to interact with those in need face-to-face and assist them.

For me, Midnight Run is especially meaningful because it is a time where I am doing acts of service for those in need alongside my good friends at BJ. It gives me a good feeling to know that I am doing something good in a safe way with the friends that I have grown up with. When we all meet up at BJ to sort the donations, I feel so grateful to be with the people I care about to help make a difference. When we load our deliveries into the car and drive to each destination, I always hope that we can make each person as joyful as possible and that we will be able to give them some basic necessities that will help them in at least some small way.

One encounter during Midnight Run that has stuck with me was when we were giving out shoes and one man whose current shoes were torn and falling apart looked me in the eyes and said “Thank you for doing this. Thank you for caring.” It was so rewarding for me that he was about to be given a new pair of shoes and that our small little group was able to make such a meaningful difference in someone’s life.

This kind of interaction is one of the main reasons I continue to participate in Midnight Run—it has shown me that although we are still kids and only a small group of people, we are still able to make a large difference in people’s lives. Midnight Run is such an important and worthwhile experience where all BJ teens are able to make a difference and support those in need.

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Other Donation Methods

There will be a donation box in Community House entrance on Friday, May 3.

If you would like to donate clothing items/shoes on a different day, email Kai Segall.