“How a national tragedy became a day of service and remembrance”
Wednesday, September 11th marks the 18th anniversary of a defining moment in United States history: the September 11th terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000 others. As a way to honor the admirable community response and sacrifices of those who were lost, one nonprofit organization worked to transform 9/11 from a day of tragedy into “9/11 Day:” a day of peace, service, and unity.
Co-founders David Paine and Jay Winuk were inspired to found 9/11 Day after Jay lost his younger brother in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. In 2002, David and Jay set up the nonprofit called MyGoodDeed, and successfully achieved federal recognition of September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009.
There are many ways you can give back on National Day of Service and Remembrance. We’ve gathered some of the ways you can help out your fellow people and your community below.
9/11 Day works to provide meals for people in need. By donating $25, you’ll help feed 100 people. So far, the nonprofit has raised over $1 million.
If you’re a local New York resident, you can help out the nonprofit in different ways, too. Their volunteer opportunities page includes teen mentorship, manning booths at events, becoming a volunteer advocate for hospital victims, and much more.
HOST A BLOOD DRIVE
Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. And during natural disasters and tragedies, blood is needed even more, and not just due to serious injuries or disaster victims. Planned blood drives are canceled. Severe weather or damage to buildings can prevent or inhibit blood donations.
Donated blood is a national resource; community blood centers can provide blood to areas in need all over the country. By hosting a blood drive, you can help fortify blood supplies before a crisis occurs. As a host, all you’ll need is a spacious room that can provide donor privacy, a team of volunteers, and donors. The Red Cross can work with you to plan and organize your own blood drive. They’ll provide you with equipment, supplies, donor recruiting tools, and trained staff for collecting blood donations.
Don’t have the resources to host your own blood drive? Find a local drive near you to donate blood.
RESPOND TO EMERGENCIES AND DISASTERS BY GIVING BACK
Disasters can strike all over the world, oftentimes when it’s not expected. When disasters happen, relief organizations seek to help affected communities. That might include rescuing victims, treating their health, providing shelter and food, and more. When these disasters occur hundreds or thousands of miles away from where you live, sometimes you feel powerless to help.
However, donating what you can to these organizations is an easy and impactful way to help following a disaster. Here are just a few notable disaster relief organizations you can consider supporting:
- Direct Relief International. A humanitarian aid organization that’s active in all 50 U.S. states and more than 80 countries. Direct Relief seeks to help people affected by poverty or emergencies, without taking into account religion, politics, or ability to pay for help.
- All Hands and Hearts Smart Response. Formed in 2017 after All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund joined forces, this organization works to address both immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by disasters.
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). VOAD members work together to help communities in need. After connecting with your state branch, you can find VOAD volunteer opportunities near you on their site.
- The Salvation Army. In addition to monetary donations, local Salvation Army Family Stores takes in goods and clothing, which helps fund rehabilitation programs for those in need. Salvation Army also aids victims of natural disasters and emergencies.
FIND A CAUSE IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
Remember that the most important thing about National Day of Service and Remembrance is taking the time to give back to others. If you’re strapped for volunteering ideas, look within your own community. Is there a shelter, senior care facility, museum, or community center that is accepting volunteers?
Or, look to your hobbies for inspiration. If you’re passionate about reading, find out if your local library has a literacy program for kids or adults that you can join as a tutor. If you love animals, find a nearby animal shelter that may need a hand with administrative tasks or maintenance. If you’re a people person, find out if you can volunteer at a nursing home or hospice to spend quality time with residents. Vocal about caring for the environment? Join a local foundation that hosts cleanups or plants gardens in the community.
There are endless opportunities for volunteering out there. NobleHour can connect you with opportunities and projects right in your neighborhood. Plus, you can track your hours and organize resources all in one place, which is extremely helpful when volunteering with your company.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. Our plug ‘n play software connects companies, schools and individuals with nonprofits. Volunteer, measure the good you’re doing, and share it with others. It’s that simple.
With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the we are dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Staff:
Director of Marketing
Allison is the Director of Marketing for TreeTop Commons, and its products; NobleHour and Collaboratory. A Portland native, Allison volunteers regularly for community nonprofits that support sustainability programs, and at her childrens’ school teaching art literacy.