A Lesson from Midnight Run Sign Ups


Anthony Abron

Is individualism hurting the impoverished? Consider our approach to service opportunities.

You wake up at 5:00 in the morning. You’re out the house by 6:00. You realize that your mother is not going the way to school, but to your grandmother’s house. You begin to freak out. Sign ups start at 7:00 and you know there is going to be a line. You pick up the pace on I-76 and your heart sinks. It’s 7:00 and you just got onto Paoli Pike. The spots are already filled and you should just give up now. You still continue to push your mother to drive quickly, holding onto the belief that maybe someone has to go to the bathroom before he signs the paper. You pull up to O’Neill and it’s 7:05. Another student is leaving from St. Rita’s and he tells you that he is the first to sign up. It’s 7:05 and I’m the second on the list. Huh?

Midnight Run is the opportunity for seniors to go and help the poor in New York City. Malvern prides itself on their distinct Christian Service program. If our program is so great, why was there not a line at 7:00?

For the record, I do not think that the problem is the Midnight Run program. Also, I don’t think it is the fault of Mr. Legner, Director of Christian Service at Malvern. He emailed all the seniors telling them about the program and sign up times. The problem has to be with the student and the culture they are brought up in. We all learn in Issues in Social Justice that the poor are still members of society and it is our duty to help them. Malvern students like to say they are good Catholics, but their definition almost always is reliant upon the issue of Abortion.

The answer to the question I posed is that the culture of individualism is harming our society. Individuals do what benefits them in the run. It can be as extreme as a Ponzi scheme, or as minute as stealing gas money. Why should I go help the poor when I could be relaxing during my Thanksgiving Vacation? When I asked a senior why didn’t he sign up for Midnight Run, his response was, “What’s that?”

Another question I asked among a group of seniors was, “If Christian Service was completely voluntary, would you still do it?” A very striking response I received was, “I would like to say yes, but I probably would not no.” This is an interesting thought. Our hearts tell us to help people, but we don’t because we don’t think we have the time?

The whole philosophy behind Christian Service is that we do what may be uncomfortable to give others a brighter day. Community should be held greater than the self. The human body is nothing but a vessel for good actions to flow out of. Malvern gives us the opportunity to help others and it is sad that some would not take part in that opportunity.

Our individualistic nature, fostered by years of flawed maxims, is destroying us from a young age. I hesitate to say this because I am no expert, but parents need to lead the way. Parents need to volunteer their time or donate to organizations because their influence on their own offspring is great. Life shouldn’t be about who has the biggest house, but about who made a contribution to help someone buy a house. Poverty in the country can be solved, but only if people are willing to give time to help eradicate the issue.