Lion's Heart Midnight Run

Editor's Note: Yesterday, I received an article from local Ridgefield High School student, Ollie Jones, about the charitable actions of  Millennials/Generation Y in Ridgefield.  So today, when I saw this article in the Scarsdale's HamletHub, I thought I would share with Ridgefield readers.

Although this local story is not about Ridgefield, the author, Eileen Donovan of Scarsdale, is a friend to many in Ridgefield.  We have been fortunate enough to hear about the Midnight Run plans of the middle school and high school students of Scarsdale, involved in Lion's Heart, for quite a few weeks.  Some Ridgefielders even donated items for distribution; and members of a Ridgefield Lion's Heart group even participated in their Midnight Run.

Ollie's article about Gen Y giving back was mirrored in Scarsdale.  The youth of our communities are becoming thoughtful, contributing, loving members of society, concerned about others and not just themselves.  This is something we, as a community, should encourage and be proud-of.  I know I do and will continue to do so.

Full disclosure:  I have two boys involved in Ridgefield's Lions Heart and a daughter in the Nutmeg Chapter of the National Charity League.

Thank you to all who contributed to our first Lion's Heart Midnight Run this past Saturday Night. We were incredibly well stocked with food, clothing and toiletries for our trip. We had 5 cars filled to the brim with all kinds of clothing and toiletries to serve the homeless men and women in New York City. We reached our first stop at 10 p.m. and arrived back home at 2 a.m. We served about 15-20 homeless friends at each of our five stops.

Our kids were incredible. Over the last few weeks, our boys were very helpful collecting clothing and toiletries and also helped sort, label and load all of the clothes into the cars on Saturday night for the run. The clothing and toiletries drive at the middle school yielded much more than we expected, I'm sure due to the enthusiasm of the boys and the guidance from Mrs. Lahey. The girls were extremely organized and diligent and sorted through hundreds of items in preparation for the run. Our Lion's Heart parents were, as always, supportive and helpful. We were also fortunate to have members of the St. Pius X Youth Group and Lion Heart members from Connecticut and Larchmont join us in our collection and on the run.

It was remarkable to see the teens that went on the run treat each person in need with warmth, kindness and respect. I watched over and over again as all of the teens helped each person find the perfect items to fit their needs. They made sure the sizes were appropriate for items people were seeking and made suggestions for other items that may have been useful. Everyone who arrived at our caravan received warm soup and/or hot chocolate, and bags filled with fruit, water, protein bars and their choice of meatloaf, meatball or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We were incredibly fortunate to have Tom Morris guide us through all of the important details to prepare for our run and also lead us on our run. He personally introduced us by name to many of those we met that night and ensured everyone was comfortable. There was lots of laughter at times with our kids and homeless friends and and at other time heartfelt concern as they intently listened to some really heart wrenching stories. At one stop, we were even serenaded by a former opera singer. Everyone we served was very, very appreciative and I learned this morning that someone we served at our third stop contacted the head of Midnight Run to compliment our group.

The run would not have been successful without all of the donations from friends and family; it was really great to tell people where the items came from. I promised them my sister's cozy blankets would keep them warm as would the sleeping bags and coats donated by friends. Every last backpack from all of our kids were given out; they were very happy to have a place to put their food, clothing, washcloths and toiletries. It was heartwarming to see people happily walking off with Darth Vader and monogramed LLBean backpacks filled with needed items people so generously donated.

Thank you again for all of your support. This was a win/win/win. We were able to reach out and serve a severely underserved community, our teens learned about serving the needs of others and the importance of making a difference and we all were able to empty out our closets and pass our belongings onto people who could really use them.

Again, thanks to all for a job well done.

Eileen Donovan

Lion's Heart Chapter President


Photo Caption: TJ Killian, John Lloyd and Alex Eforo

Submitted by Ridgefield, CT

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