Bay Ridge

Fontbonne students help homeless in Breakfast Run

April 6, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Students from Fontbonne Hall Academy set up a table to help people in need of food and clothing. Photo courtesy of Fontbonne Hall
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Members of the National Honor Society at Fontbonne Hall Academy spent a recent Sunday taking part in a Breakfast Run — but it had nothing to do with track.

Students from the Catholic high school for girls in Bay Ridge traveled to Stuyvesant Cove Park under the FDR Drive in Manhattan to bring food, clothing and personal items to people in need.

It was all part of the Breakfast Run, a charity event organized by the nonprofit group Midnight Run, in which groups of volunteers go to select locations on a Sunday morning and stay at the locations for several hours to distribute items to local residents.

Michelle Sahlani, president of Fontbonne’s National Honor Society (NHS), came up with the idea for the school to do a Breakfast Run project and gathered together a group of enthusiastic supporters to take part in the event.

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NHS members got busy collecting personal care items and organizing them into hygiene kits. The students also collected clothing.

Word spread quickly about what the Fontbonne girls were planning and people began offering help. Volunteer Judy Rubertone and her daughter Ava, a second-grade student at St. Patrick Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, heard about the project, wanted to help and worked with Ava’s class to prepare brown-bag meals for approximately 60 people. 

The transportation company BusPages donated its services for the day so that the Fontbonne students could transport the collected items to Stuyvesant Cove Park. NHS members also contributed serving tables, muffins, fruit and juice to serve to people who came to the distribution.

Help also came from other Catholic schools. Deena Sellers, the NHS adviser at Xavier High School in Manhattan, and one of her students assisted in the effort.

Midnight Run is a multi-faceted organization that also sponsors a Midnight Run event in which groups of volunteers go out onto the streets of New York City late at night and hand out food, clothing, blankets and personal care items to the homeless.

“Midnight Run is not a solution to homelessness,” a statement on the group’s website reads. “Our goal is to forge a bond between housed and homeless people by establishing a foundation of sharing and caring from which solutions may evolve. Through Midnight Run, volunteers come to see the homeless as real people, not a commodity.”

The organization’s website is

The Breakfast Run is just one example of the community work done by NHS members at Fontbonne Hall, according to school officials.

Other projects include volunteering with the Seniors in Touch Program at Shore Hill Senior Housing and collecting toys for Catholic Charities during the Christmas season.

Last month, 20 students who have demonstrated character, leadership, scholarship and service were inducted into the NHS at Fontbonne.


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