The Veterans Student Organization provided food and donations for approximately 60 homeless New Yorkers in Manhattan on Oct. 24 during their Midnight Run.
Midnight Run is a nonprofit organization that coordinates late-night relief through the distribution of clothing and other resources for the homeless.
In collaboration with the Office of Judicial Affairs and Service Learning, the Queens College Veterans Club coordinated their first Midnight Run.
Andrea Toral, a junior accounting major and an Army veteran, was in charge of organizing the event.
Toral took care of getting the word out, going out to get donations from different churches and created the flyer for the run.
She expressed her excitement about the event because she really wanted to get involved in the community.
“It was an emotional, but fulfilling experience,” Toral said. “It was a definitely good experience.”
Other departments have done the Midnight Run on at QC including the Athletics department. Other schools in Queens, including St. John’s University, have also participated.
The Veterans Organization was accompanied by Beverly Young, a Midnight Run national organization representative, who accompanied the group in distributing the collected donations to the homeless in Manhattan.
The organization had gathered jackets, undergarments, sweatshirts, sweatpants and toiletries including baby wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, shaving cream and razors leading up to the run.
A group of about a dozen volunteers convened on the QC campus at approximately 7:45 p.m. and loaded goods into vehicles, which they took to places in Manhattan with higher homeless populations.
The run is also scheduled as best as possible around classes to accommodate students who will have early classes in order get more people involved, given that the event is late at night.
Dennis Torres, the Veteran Outreach Specialist at the Office of Veteran Support Services, identified the reason for coordinating the Midnight Run to be that they wanted to give back to the community.
“The Veterans Club was designed to build bridges between the veteran community and civilians. Homelessness is a big issue, even among veterans. So we decided it was such an awesome opportunity to give back,” Torres said.
The Veterans Club volunteers for a number of different events throughout the school year and the Midnight Run was one event that was significantly personal for many veterans in general.
Torres demonstrated the proximity of the issue of homelessness for veterans by mentioning a number of homeless student veterans that he knew. He explained that he worked with them so they were able to receive housing and other necessities.
The Veterans Club announced that they have plans to do the run again next semester.