Over four thousand New York volunteers will board the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks with a major community service project aimed at helping those in need.
For this year’s 9/11 Day project, New Yorkers will pack a million nonperishable meals for needy New York families and 100,000 nonperishable meals for the victims of Hurricane Dorian. Jay Winuk, the co-founder of the 9/11 Day nonprofit, said he and fellow organizers wanted to honor those who were lost by promoting selflessness in the face of tragedy.
"That was the way it was done after 9/11, people coming together, putting aside their differences," said Winuk, who lost his brother in the 2001 attacks. "When disaster strikes, it’s amazing how everyone comes in to chip in and mitigate that disaster."
Winuk said having the staging area on top of the Intrepid sends a very poignant message to the world, especially those who are serving in the military overseas.
"This kind of response is intended to honor those who were killed and injured but also those who rose to service," he said.
The fourth-annual Intrepid food packing event has expanded to other cities. Roughly 12,000 combined volunteers in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Dallas and Phoenix will pack three million meals for their communities and other places in need.
But the non-profit’s mission isn’t limited to meal packing.
The group’s site, 911day.org encourages people around the world to perform some act of community service on Wednesday. The site includes a searchable database for links to volunteer projects that will take place this week.
Winuk said over 15 million people have worked on community service projects since the grassroots initiative started in 2002.
"We don’t direct people what we do, and this is the spirit of the way people responded after 9/11. Whatever they could do to help, they did," he said.