Dobbs Ferry-based Midnight Run Is Working to Satisfy a New Need of the Homeless

For more than 27 years, Midnight Run has provided the homeless with items for personal needs and hope.

“One of the less obvious problems facing the homeless is not having suitable clothing to wear to a job interview,” said Dale Williams, executive director of Midnight Run. His organization, headquartered in Dobbs Ferry, provides the homeless of New York City with clothing, blankets, personal care items and understanding. “Now, we are especially in need of men’s business suits, dress shirts, ties and shoes,” he said.

Since 1984, Midnight Run has organized and coordinated nightly van trips to Manhattan by volunteers who deliver donated goods to the homeless. Typically, a van will reach the first drop-off point around 10 p.m. and continue to make deliveries up to 1 a.m., hence the name “Midnight Run.”  

“Homeless men interested in obtaining an interview outfit can notify us,” said Williams, “and we’ll do our best to satisfy their needs by specific sizes.”

A few years ago, fewer than ten requests per week for business clothes were received from men, Williams noted. But currently Midnight Run receives about 70 inquiries a week from homeless men needing job interview clothing and donations satisfy only about one-half of the need. The number of requests received from women is small by comparison.

More than 150 groups, including churches, synagogues and schools, support Midnight Run’s efforts and nightly travel program.

Williams moved to Dobbs Ferry 22 years to join Midnight Run. “I did not start with Midnight Run as an employee or a volunteer,” he said. “My involvement began when I was homeless and was helped by Midnight Run.”

“My first contact with Midnight Run came one night 23 years ago when a car pulled up along the Central Park West bench where I was sleeping. A couple approached and said, ‘Hi, we’re from Midnight Run. Can you use a blanket? Would you like a sandwich and some soup? How about a clean shirt?”

“When I got back on my feet, I volunteered and was elected a member of the Midnight Run board. Eventually I progressed from being a client and volunteer to a full-time employee and now I spend each workweek supervising the efforts of volunteers. I won’t say it’s always been easy but it is rewarding to work with people who are trying to make a difference.”

Williams was born in Atlanta, Georgia, grew up in North Carolina and graduated from UNC at Chapel Hill.

"The Purple Soul Voices" Concert

On Sunday, March 25, a concert to raise funds for Midnight Run, under the direction of Pete Malinverni, will be held at the Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains. Sponsored by Interfaith Caring Community of Greenburgh (914-693-7817), the program’s admission cost is $20 per adult and $7.50 per student. Front-row reserved seats at $35 each must be purchased in advance.

Refreshments will be served following the concert. Tickets can be obtained by mailing a check payable to Midnight Run to Woodlands Community Temple, Attention: Dayle Fligel, 50 Worthington Road, White Plains, NY 10607. Parking is available at the temple or at St. Joseph of Arimathea. For more information, contact Dayle Fligel, 914-282-9019 or daylejf@gmail.com.

Midnight Run is located at 97 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry. Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Wedneday (8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). To learn more about Midnight Run or to volunteer your services, contribute goods or make a donation, refer to its website, www.midnightrun.org, or call 914-693-7818.


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