February 25, 2019

University students and staff delivered food and clothes to people in need. 

Centenary University hosted its Midnight Run event on Friday night – an initiative held once a month by volunteer students and staff to help those in need. Sixteen students, including three coordinators and five faculty members, filled two vans with clothes, blankets, and food, and delivered them to various stops throughout the New York City area.

Although many tristate area groups volunteer through the official NYC non-profit organization named “Midnight Run,” Centenary University developed its own group. Volunteers sign up ahead of time to prepare the necessary goods for drop off. The stops are pre-advertised through communication efforts by the Midnight Run organization.

New Jersey Campus Contact (NJCC) and AmeriCorps Changebuilders Coordinator Rachel Danitz, who is based on the Centenary campus, helps organize the monthly runs as part of the University’s Changebuilders program, an initiative designed to increase volunteerism on college campuses. “This service project is very special, as it allows students and staff to give back to the community in a very unique way,” says Danitz. “Every run is different. We try to stay at each stop for about 20 minutes and deliver to as many as five locations a night. We are proud of our contributions every month to our neighbors in need, and hope to continue growing these runs, establishing more trust and understanding amongst our community.”

Centenary University’s next Midnight Run will take place on March 22.

Rachel Danitz is an Americorps member serving as the NJCC Changebuilders program coordinator for Centenary University. She is a 2018 graduate of Centenary’s business program, and became interested in service work after participating in Centenary’s 2018 Soles4Souls shoe distribution. Before joining Americorps, Rachel was an intern with Soles4Souls NJ. She wants to use her experience and passion for serving to inspire youth toward volunteerism, creating pathways between Centenary and the local community that will result in sustainability for all. When she is not working or volunteering, Rachel is an avid equestrian, runner, and backpacker.

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.