NEW YORK, Sept. 11, 2016 — Hoping to transform 9/11 from a day of despair into a day of love and service, more than 2,000 New Yorkers came together with U.S. Hunger and packaged 505,728 meals for families, seniors and veterans at risk of hunger.
Wave after wave of enthusiastic volunteers poured into the auditorium at Basketball City, Pier 36, for the all-day Hunger Project. They rolled up their sleeves, donned red hairnets and packed hundreds of thousands of meals to a joyful 80s soundtrack that included Michael Jackson, Wham and more. These volunteers were among the 30 million Americans participating in volunteer events throughout the country on 9/11 Day.
Recognized officially under federal law in 2009, 9/11 Day (http://911day.org) has grown to become the nation’s largest day of charitable engagement. And this Hunger Project was the largest 9/11 Day serving event ever held in New York.
The meals will stay in New York and will be distributed locally by charities, including City Harvest and Catholic Charities. In fact, some meals were distributed even before the Hunger Project had concluded.
At 2 p.m., just a few blocks from ground zero, parishioners at Trinity Church Wall Street and St. Paul’s Chapel (https://www.trinitywallstreet.org) were serving the very meal they had packaged earlier that day as Hunger Project volunteers.
“We have a brown-bag ministry and serve a free lunch to a long line of hungry people every day,” explained Mandy Culbreath (pictured above with U.S. Hunger CEO Dave Green), coordinator for social outreach at Trinity — a church with a storied history.
Following his inauguration as President of the United States in 1789, George Washington prayed in St. Paul’s Chapel.
In 2001, the church served as a base of operations for first responders following the 9/11 attacks. “You can still see you see scuff marks from policemen and firemen’s belts on some of the pews,” Mandy says.
In the years the followed, the parish has participated in events and interfaith observances on the anniversary of the attacks, including today’s Hunger Project.
“Being a part of something to help others was a meaningful thing for our congregation,” Mandy says. “It’s an opportunity to do something as you’re remembering.”
ABOUT U.S. HUNGER
U.S. Hunger is the domestic feeding arm of Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE), a Florida-based social charity that since 2010 has mobilized 388 thousand volunteers to assemble 57 million healthy meals for hungry children and families in 49 countries around the world.