MSA’s Midnight Run in 2016. On Thursday night in Manhattan, 30 students distributed clothes, hygiene kits and food to the homeless. COURTESY OF MSA

Stony Brook University’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) joined the Midnight Run organization in New York City for a night of distribution of goods including clothes, hygiene kits and food on Thursday, Nov. 8.

MSA has been working Midnight Run for the past five years. The organization volunteers in the Midnight Run twice a year, once every semester in March and November. On Thursday night, about 30 student members traveled to Manhattan to deliver their materials. For some students this was their first time going while others were on their seventh run.

“The Midnight Run itself allows you to be a part of the social aspect of the Muslim Student Association and it’s all of us getting together to do something good,” Noshin Hoque, MSA Community Service Committee member and junior social work major, said. “Listening to everyone’s stories throughout the night is the best part and being able to joke around while building a relationship with the people we help is just really fun.”

Midnight Run is a volunteer organization that builds a community between the homeless and the public. It coordinates over 1,000 missions per year, where volunteers come together to distribute food, clothing and personal care items to homeless people on the streets of New York City. The organization thrives on the human connection built when volunteers stop by and offer essentials. Midnight Runs go from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. while the Breakfast Runs go from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The point of the Midnight Run isn’t to decrease poverty — it’s a way of building a relationship with trust and communication between homeless people and the rest of the population.

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“It’s to show them that they’re humans too,” Hoque said.

To work with Midnight Run, Hoque got in contact with them and told them they had goods they wanted to distribute. The organization then shared the locations where MSA could go throughout the night to meet people.

“My favorite part of the night was toward the end when lots of people stopped by and they were so happy, they were like ‘Omg you guys are giving those out?” Neesan Haider, MSA member and senior biology major, said. “A lot of people just stopped by and it just made us feel good because we were able to provide them with help.”

It’s a really eye-opening experience,” Haider said. “It changes people’s perspectives a little bit more when you’re there because you realize that you may be having a hard time, but there are people that you pass literally living out there in the cold.”

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