Yonkers, White Plains Youth Groups Distribute Food, Blankets To Homeless

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Aaron Hersch, 15, of Scarsdale, and Jack Ifrah, 15, of Harrison Photo Credit: Contributed
Sam Rowland, 17, of Cortlandt Manor, Janece Mroz-Gondré, 16, of Yonkers, and Janelle Mroz-Gondré, 16, of Yonkers Photo Credit: Contributed
Tori Pemberton of Yonkers Photo Credit: Contributed

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Yonkers' Elm Street Youth Center teamed up with White Plains' J-Teen Leadership after the recent snowstorm to distribute food, clothing and blankets to homeless people in New York City.

The “Midnight Run” distributed essential supplies while building bridges between teen cultures.

These two diverse Westchester youth groups began the evening by sorting and packing these items at J-Teen Leadership’s Westchester office before heading to Manhattan.

“To give the homeless the things they don’t have makes me grateful for the things I do have,” said Janelle Mroz-Gondré, 16, a student at Yonkers High School and a member of Elm Street Youth Center’s Teen Council Leadership Group said in a release. “I don’t care if it’s the coldest day of the year, I’m happy to do it.”

“Midnight Run” is also dedicated to finding common ground between the housed and the homeless.

Some of the Elm Street teens live in Westhab family shelters. Westhab has been developing affordable housing units since 1981 and launched the Youth Center in 2006. It serves more than 250 school-age youth in the high-need Nodine Hill neighborhood.

J-Teen Leadership is a community-service leadership-development initiative for Jewish high school students who want to make a difference in the world.

These groups have spent 18 months fostering cultural understanding and building relationships by dining, learning and socializing together.

“We’ve been working together for two years now and gotten to really know each other. I’ve found that we have a lot in common. To be able to make a difference together, as a group, is really special,” said Danielle Silverman, 17, of New Rochelle High School, a chair of J-Teen Leadership.

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