FOS, CPS & kids team up for Homeless Midnight Run

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Young children who attend the Cathedral school and their parents helped FOS volunteers on April 5 in preparing sandwiches, toiletries kits and used and new clothes for distribution to the homeless on the streets on Manhattan.

By R. Dorothy Poli

An additional group of FOS volunteers for a total of 40, later joined the prep team to load the vehicles with the care packages. As is typical, the “Run” began with a caravan that left the church at approximately 9:30 pm and stopped at designated points to meet the homeless. The Run ended at around midnight after the goods were all dispersed.

An important element of the Run is the exchange between the homeless and the volunteers. The Run volunteers witness their faith and their compassion to the homeless by feeding, clothing and visiting with them. The homeless express their appreciation to the volunteers and, interestingly are quite jovial and therefore, also witness their faith which seems to be pervasive. According to Midnight Run organization, “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.” Through Midnight Runs, volunteers come to see the homeless as brothers and sisters and convey not only compassion but respect for their dignity as well. As we depart for our heated homes, this human interaction somehow eases their trek into the subways for their heated shelter for the night.

The “runs” are coordinated through Midnight Run (, a volunteer organization that was created by a homeless person 20 years ago. Midnight Run now coordinates over 1,000 relief missions per year from churches, synagogues, schools and other civic groups and procures and prepares food, clothing, blankets and personal care items for distribution to the homeless poor.

While FOS is meant to bring people together on its Tuesday night meetings for internal transformation, the Midnight Run is an avenue for external transformation of the world around us. The April 5 Run is the second Midnight Run that FOS has undertaken. The Cathedral as well as many Orthodox churches have followed in the exemplary model initially set by the Church of our Saviour in Rye, NY which has had an ongoing Midnight Run ministry. While the past Runs have purposefully been done during Great Lent, going forward, the Cathedral and FOS will also be establishing this ministry on an all-year round and ongoing basis. This along with the current Philoptochos program carries out one of many Cathedral missions to help feed the homeless. In addition to providing fellowship with the homeless, this is also an important community-building effort that enhances fellowship among the Cathedral parents, young professionals and young children volunteers and, most importantly, teaches young children the essence of philanthropy.

FOS and CPS are ministries of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity created to serve the various segments of the community. FOS (Forum on Orthodox Spirituality), geared toward young professionals, seeks to enrich people’s lives by bringing attendees into a deeper understanding of Orthodox faith in the context of contemporary society and by building strong relationships and a sense of community. CPS (Cathedral Parents Society) explores parenting challenges and concerns in a Christian context with other parents, clergy, and invited speakers with the aim of preparing children for life’s challenges and joys.

For more information, go to or contact Dorothy Poli, FOS Laity Leader, at


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