The holidays were made a little brighter for some of New York City’s less fortunate this year, thanks to the help of four Beat the Streets alumni. Ben Mensah, Matt Moy, Paul Ma, and Alex Ynoquio spent the days preceding Christmas passing out holiday cards to the homeless in the area between Washington Square Park and 14th Street.
The group pitched in to buy more than 20 cards, and gathered at a Starbucks near New York University to write and sign them. Placing a dollar bill inside each one, they set out across the streets of New York in search of those who all too often are forgotten amidst the season’s chaos.
Their efforts were much appreciated. “For those receiving the cards, some teared, others were surprised,” said Mensah, who orchestrated the event. “One man said that this was the first time someone had ever done something like this for him.”
Mensah, a freshman at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, enlisted the help of his friends to carry out the idea. Moy, Ma, and Ynoquio—on holiday break from Case Western Reserve, Hunter College, and New York City College of Technology, respectively—were eager to join in on the effort. Though the four young men attended different high schools, they all came together here at Beat the Streets to wrestle throughout the years.
Their good will continued on Christmas Day itself, as Mensah and another friend prepared and handed out a new batch of 16 cards. The response was just as great—better, even—than the first time.
“It was a meaningful experience for everyone involved,” said Mensah. “Nothing better than putting a smile on someone’s face.”