The Midnight Run goal is to establish a forum for meaningful exchange between the housed and the homeless. One element of that exchange is to deliver to people on the street what they need to survive, and to do it effectively and fairly. In that effort, we've established some guidelines for distribution of goods:
- Stick to the stop list in the prescribed order, as noted in Navigation. The stop lists are designed to give everyone on the street an equal chance at the best selection of clothes and other goods.
- Form teams to organize your volunteer crew. Clothes distribution is the most intensive work, and demands the most people. Generally three people can distribute food, and two or more can handle blankets and toiletries. In order to give everyone a chance to mingle on the sidewalks, try to trade off jobs in the middle of the run.
- Midnight Run offers the homeless poor an extremely rare opportunity to be selective about what they wear and what they eat. One of the joys of Midnight Run is providing that selection. So if someone on the street wants a dark-colored jacket rather than a light one, we work to accommodate that request. If you meet with requests for dress clothes or unusual sizes, see Special Order Runs.
- Try to be equitable in the distribution of goods. Once clothing is donated to Midnight Run, it belongs to the homeless poor. It is, however, the responsibility of the volunteers to make sure that clothing is distributed equitably. In general, each person gets one of anything we have available (the exception is bag meals, where we give each person two or three, and soup and coffee, where we serve as much as anyone wants). Certain items, particularly coats and pants, are typically in short supply, and we want to make sure that as many people as possible get one of whatever they need.
- The folks on the street should respect an orderly distribution of goods, particularly at the big stops, and they generally do. But if someone is being too aggressive, volunteers should ask for order and civility. If civility proves elusive, then pack up and move to the next stop.
- Be considerate of the privacy and relative quiet of folks on the street (who have precious little of both). We do not wake people up by rapping on boxes. If someone is sleeping, we stand far enough away that they won't be startled and say "Midnight Run." If there's no response, we recite some of the things we have to offer. If still no response, we may leave a couple of bag meals. Some people will tell us that they don't want anything, and we should respect that.
Also please see Midnight Run Policies.