Alumnus Nick Pandolfi '04 Reunites with Outreach for First Midnight Run of the School Year

Millbrook has always believed in a world where an educated and informed public responsibly strives to improve the global community. With a rich history of service, Millbrook students and faculty alike regularly reflect upon current initiatives and work to develop new programming to serve communities off-campus; one such example is Millbrook's Outreach organization that works to collect and distribute clothing and other necessities to the homeless. Outreach launched at Millbrook over a decade ago, and in 2003, Nick Pandolfi '04 and Kinley McKracken '04 spearheaded the effort to create a Midnight Run chapter at Millbrook.

Midnight Run is a non-profit organization that works specifically to assist the homeless in New York City. Pandolfi and McKracken led Millbrook through the two-year process of creating our official school chapter; this included attending multiple workshops and training sessions and co-hosting a run with a Midnight Run charter member. The process was successfully completed in 2004, and the Millbrook chapter now has a long and lasting legacy of serving others.

After graduating, Pandolfi continued to remain involved with the organization, and, through the generosity of his family foundation, he assisted Millbrook in successfully applying for a grant to fund a transport vehicle that continues to be used by current students participating in Outreach today. 
In early October Millbrook students and faculty packed that very vehicle with goods for distribution and traveled to New York City where they were met Pandolfi for the first Midnight Run of the 2018-2019 school year. The group left at 8:00 p.m. for New York City, made five stops, served 75 meals, and distributed 25 bins of clothing, bedding, and toiletries, before returning to campus at approximately 3:30 a.m. the following morning.

"These evenings are always an eye-opener for our students and the adults as well," said Barbara Gatski who has been a faculty member of Outreach since its inception. "When you see how people are living on the streets and how appreciative they are for your help, it gives you a new perspective."

Midnight Run trips offer perspective by way of helping the homeless, and they also provide a unique experiential learning opportunity for students who must work diligently to make the event happen. This year fourteen students and five faculty members spent the first few weeks of school preparing for the run by gathering supplies, rallying volunteers, and coordinating other details for the evening event. Students created posters and made announcements during assemblies in order to garner donations. They culled through the donated supplies to ensure that they met the criteria for distribution and organized everything into bins to ensure efficiency during the run.

With their first successful Midnight Run complete, Outreach will turn its attention to continuing to educate the campus community about human service needs that exist beyond campus; they will also begin to organize future Midnight Runs, recruit volunteer groups to participate in a local Crop Hunger Walk, and seek out opportunities with work with local organizations such as the Astor Home of Rhinebeck and Dutchess Outreach. Outreach is a deep-rooted organization at that has served others for almost two decades, and Millbrook is proud to continue these important efforts.