By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When Christian Weatherbe celebrated his 24th birthday two years ago, he didn’t want a party. Instead, he wanted to help others.

“I wanted to use the little bit of influence you get around your birthday and use it to give to someone else,” says Weatherbe, who turns 26 in April. “My friends thought I was crazy, they thought I was playing, but I was dead serious.”

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A graphic designer, Weatherbe says created a flier and Gofund Me page. In just nine days, the effort raised $1,500. He used the money to create bag lunches and care packages, with feminine products and toiletries, that they gave to the homeless.

“We were able to feed 350 people,” he says, “and that was the first time.”

The next week they did it again, thanks to persistent donors. Then, they did it the week after that and the week after that. Pretty soon, it became a passion.

“I realized it was more so a purpose and a calling and that I had to continue to do it because people were counting on me,” says Weatherbe, who grew up in Southwest Philadelphia.

Fast forward and nearly every Thursday at 7:45pm, Weatherbe and his volunteers have come together to make 300 sandwiches and fruit snack bag lunches. They make peanut butter, jelly and lunch meat sandwiches. Then, the group called, “The Refreshed Life,” takes the donated snacks, along with water, and deliveries between 10pm and midnight to hundreds of men and women sleeping along a nine-mile track in Center City. They call the effort “The Midnight Run.”

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Christian Weatherbe and his volunteers at the Urban Art Gallery at 52nd Chestnut Streets. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

Christian Weatherbe and his volunteers at the Urban Art Gallery at 52nd Chestnut Streets. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

“Going at night — it’s when everybody else won’t go,” says Weatherbe, “and people are so grateful.”

TRL also gives away toiletries and jackets on the coldest nights.

“People are actually up waiting for us,” he says, “it’s just become a ritual.”

Weatherbe says he does it to create community, by giving families an opportunity to serve and by spreading goodwill to those many forget.

“It gives them hope to be able to go on another day,” he says, “just a small token to know that somebody cares.”

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