Triangle 9/11 Day of Service aims for 2,000 volunteers

08/13/2014 3:54 PM

08/13/2014 3:55 PM

Organizers of the Triangle 9/11 Day of Service are calling on Raleigh residents to volunteer in commemoration of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“We’re looking for about 2,000 volunteers,” City Councilman Eugene Weeks said at a press conference Wednesday. “With Raleigh being a can-do city, we will be able to accomplish that mission.”

The goal is to draw volunteers to various projects around the Triangle, from serving breakfast at the Raleigh Rescue Mission to sorting donations at Missions Thrift Store.

The event, which is also called “Activate Raleigh,” is the city’s third annual day of service, part of a National Day of Service and Remembrance created by Congress in 2009.

It is coordinated by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Activate Good, a nonprofit that matches volunteers with organizations around the Triangle.

Amber Smith, executive director of Activate Good, said she hopes volunteers who come out to honor the victims and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are inspired to keep volunteering throughout the year.

Less than one in four Raleigh residents volunteer, according to 2012 data from Volunteer and Civic Life in America.

“We’d like to see that number go way up,” Smith said.

The first 9/11 Day of Service drew about 1,000 volunteers, a number that came as a pleasant surprise for organizers.

“We were aiming for a few hundred that first year,” Smith said. “It’s been really thrilling to see the 9/11 Day of Service grow.”

This year, participants can choose from more than 60 projects. Smith said many volunteer spots will be filled by church groups, student organizations and corporations.

Carrie Gray, a community affairs official at Wells Fargo, said the financial services company had already committed to participate in the 9/11 Day of Service for the third year in a row.

“It’s a great day of team building. It’s a great day of service,” she said.

Organizers hope individuals will also sign up to volunteer.

Weeks emphasized that the real goal is to honor the victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania in 2001.

On that day, Weeks was supposed to take a tour of the World Trade Center at 8:30 a.m., but his wife changed their plans. He still has his refunded ticket.

Weeks said it is important to remember those who were affected by the attacks.

“This lifts them up,” he said. “This lets them know, and the world know, that we will move forward.”

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