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A Night At The Shelter

For over 40 years, the Friends Shelter has provided a place to stay and hospitality for up to fourteen unhoused men and women each evening. Located in the Common Room, the Shelter is run entirely by volunteers and jointly supported by the Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and the School. Friends students and parents have prepared meals and spent the night at the Shelter, hosting guests, preparing meals, and helping provide a bit of comfort in the face of homelessness.

August ‘25 and his mother are currently serving as overnight volunteers at the Shelter. In the December issue of The Insight, the student-run newspaper, he reflects on his experience. Below is an excerpt from “A Night at the Shelter.” Pick up the latest edition of The Insight to read the full piece.


On a recent Friday evening, the sun began to set as I walked up the steps of the 15 Rutherford Place entrance to the Meetinghouse. I had done this walk countless times before, but this time it felt different. It could have been because my backpack was filled not with my usual books and folders, but with sheets, a pillowcase, and a toothbrush. 

I was volunteering at the Friends Shelter, a volunteer-run homeless shelter located in the Common Room that provides dinner and a place to sleep for up to 14 adult guests every night of the year. My parents had volunteered before and had always spoken positively of the experience, so I decided to give it a try too.

It was 6:45 PM when I walked past a security guard into the Common Room. Two regular guests had arrived early and were already helping to set up. When one saw us, a big smile crossed his face, and he greeted my mom and me warmly with firm handshakes. 

Behind a hidden door in the gym’s wall is a tiny kitchen. One of the guests took out folding tables to set up a communal dining table in the middle of the gym and a buffet table along the south wall of the gym. I helped take out a stack of green, plastic chairs and put them around the dining table. We covered the tables with blue-checkered tablecloths.
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Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.