From sprucing up at Hillsborough Veterans Memorial Park to writing letters of encouragement and gratitude to local first responders, United Way Suncoast’s 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance proved to be a meaningful commemoration.
UWS staged nearly 20 events across its five-county region during the four-day effort, which began Sept. 8 and concluded on Sept. 11. It gave more than 250 volunteers a positive way to unite and pay tribute to the victims, survivors and first responders who served in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001.
“Volunteers took time to share their memories and connection to 9/11,” said Jessica Maxon-Berrier, United Way Suncoast senior specialist for community engagement. “In reflection and sharing, they expressed their connection to each other, our community, and the critical work that we are doing through volunteerism.
“It was so meaningful to all involved.”
Bay News 9 chronicled the effort at Veterans Memorial Park.
Many of the corporate and community volunteers engaged in putting together hygiene kits and emergency kits in honor of first responders. Thanks to the support of GEICO and AmeriCorps, the 9/11 effort resulted in more than 500 hygiene kits and 600 emergency kits.
Maxon-Berrier found a personal connection in helping coordinate the effort.
“I grew up not far from Shanksville, Pa., which is where the national Flight 93 Memorial is located,” Maxon-Berrier said. “As an AmeriCorps member, I spent many a Sept. 11 volunteering at that national memorial and I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact giving your time can make, the positive difference it can make.”
Of course, this isn’t the only time United Way Suncoast offers community members a chance to volunteer. UWS regularly dedicates service days throughout the year. To learn more, visit unitedwaysuncoast.org/get-involved/volunteer/