As the second anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, there is a growing contingent that believes the best way to continue the healing process is to help others. In fact, in a national group called One Day’s Pay, made up of the families of victims, as well as businesses and nonprofit organizations, wants to establish Sept. 11 as a national day of volunteer service.
“Americans want to pay special tribute on that day, and we cannot think of a better expression than to rekindle and sustain the spirit of generosity, humanity and concern that turned strangers into neighbors and unified our entire nation,” said David Paine, president of the coalition, in a recent press release.
Civic service can range from a variety of activities, such as making an appointment to give blood through the American Red Cross, contacting your local volunteer center and offering to help organizations in your area, donating money to a worthy charity, or working in a soup kitchen.
Below is a list of 10 local causes that are looking for donations or volunteers.
1. Take in a game
One of the best ways to give back is going out to support those who lost the most on 9/11. One local event is the second annual Charity Softball Game to benefit the Martin Boryczewski 9-11 Memorial Baseball Fund, held on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 4:30 p.m. on the athletic field at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Jointly sponsored by the City of Hoboken and Stevens, the game provides funding for baseball scholarships for local children in memory of Hoboken resident Martin Boryczewski, a trader with Cantor Fitzgerald who perished in the World Trade Center attack. Boryczewski had played in the minor leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers organizations.
“[After September 11] we had to go through all of Marty’s belongings, and we found check after check to all of these different charities,” said Boryczewski’s sister Michele Wednesday afternoon. “I knew if he was here, this is something that he would be doing himself.”
She added that helping to organize this event will, in its small way, make sense of that day. “It’s very healing for something good to come out of something that was so horrible,” she said.
The event will feature two games: The Hoboken Police Department versus the Port Authority Police Department, and the Hoboken Fire Department versus the Fire Department of New York.
Last year’s event raised over $10,000 for the fund. The money will be used to send kids to baseball camp next year.
The new event will feature food, games and fun for visitors of all ages. Tickets are $8, and children under six are admitted for free. For additional information, contact Michele Boryczewski at (201) 222-8107.
2. Serve a meal at a shelter
The Hoboken Homeless Shelter at 300 Bloomfield St. serves over 27,000 meals a year and has 30 beds, which are full most nights. The shelter is always looking for volunteers to maintain the facilities and aid in the serving of meals from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It is also accepting contributions of money, clothes, toiletries, and food left over from parties and entertainment functions. For more information on how to help, contact Sister Norberta Hunnewinkel at (201) 656-5069.
Another nearby shelter is St. Lucy’s Shelter, at 619 Grove St. in Jersey City. St. Lucy’s is a supervised 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, year-’round emergency shelter facility for single women and men, offering emergency housing and food for those in need. Individuals are offered a 45-day stay. For more information on how to volunteer call (201) 656-7201.
A third shelter is the Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC), formerly St. John’s Shelter, at 108 36th St. In Union City. The co-ed facility has 40 beds available nightly (201) 348-8150.
3. Be a hospice volunteer
One form of volunteerism that involves very personal emotional investment, but can also be the most rewarding, is being a hospice counselor. A hospice is an environment designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.
The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient’s last days by offering comfort and dignity.
Volunteer roles might include companionship for the patients, emotional support for patient and family, errands, telephone reassurance, and transportation. The patients are often cared for in their own homes. Although the training takes place in Jersey City, volunteering is done throughout Hudson County. Volunteer hours are flexible, according to the needs of the patient/family and the availability of the volunteer. For an application and further information, call Sister Carol Van Billard at (201) 433-3303.
4. Mentor a local youth
The local schools and youth organizations present another excellent opportunity to give back to the community’s youngest residents. The Hoboken and Jersey City Boys and Girls clubs are always looking for volunteers to spend their time as a mentor or role model.
Whether you have an interest in athletics, technology, the arts or any other programming skills, the Boys and Girls clubs always room for more volunteers. For more information on how to be a mentor call (201) 333-4100.
5. Join the Friends of the Library
One institution that would have a difficult time surviving without the compassion of the neighbors in the community is the public library. The Friends of the Hoboken Public Library is a group of volunteers dedicated to supporting and expanding what the library offers to children and adults. They do that by publicizing the library’s programs and raising funds for the library’s special needs.
In the past year alone, the money the Friends raised has enabled the library to purchase new books, magazine subscriptions, and computer equipment that were beyond its regular budget.
The Friends sponsor a number of activities, including the Great Hoboken Spelling Challenge, Saturday story hours for toddlers, an English as a Second Language Conversation Program, and book sales.
At the library on the anniversary of 9/11, the book “Sept. 11: Hoboken Remembers” will be unveiled. The book is essays and recollections by Hoboken and Hudson County residents about Sept. 11. (See memorial page.) For more information about the Friends of the Hoboken Public Library, visit http://www.hobokeni.com/fohl or call (201) 420-2280.
6. Donate blood
In the days immediately following 9/11, local blood banks were full of people giving blood, but as time passed, the national need has remained. Yet, the number of people giving blood on a regular basis has declined.
People who weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health are eligible to donate. The first step is to call the nearest blood center at (888) USBLOOD or (800) GIVE LIFE to find the nearest blood center and schedule an appointment. During the appointment you will be asked general health and lifestyle questions in a private setting while a medical professional takes your vital signs.
Donors must meet guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration. If qualified, the entire process of giving blood will take six to eight minutes. For more information, visit http://www.americasblood.org.
7. Donate to the Hoboken 9/11 memorial
Another worthy local 9/11 cause that is accepting donations is Hoboken’s Sept. 11th Memorial Fund Committee. A group was chosen by the city to oversee the creation of a permanent memorial on Pier A that will honor the Hoboken victims of the World Trade Center tragedy. The Memorial Fund is trying to raise around $500,000 to build a lasting monument on the pier in memory of those who were lost.
8. Donate to the Salvation Army or United Way
Two organizations that supplied aid to the families of 9/11 victims and residents throughout the Tri-State area in the days following the tragic attacks were the Salvation Army and United Way.
The Salvation Army continues to serve those in need through its corps community centers in New Jersey, New York and around the country. Primary services include financial aid to victims’ families and others whose livelihoods were affected, and continued counseling for a variety of workers involved in the disaster’s aftermath and cleanup.
To give a tax deductible donation, call (201) 653-3071 or visit the Hudson County stores at 248 Erie St. in Jersey City or 515 43rd St in Union City.
The United Way of Hudson County is a community-based organization that funds health and human care services. For every dollar raised, 89 cents of that dollar goes to help people in need, according to United Way officials. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call (201) 434-2628.
9. Volunteer for an AIDS charity
Franciscan Initiative To Help (FAITH) Services was founded in 1988 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The service is located at 307 Willow Ave.
Today FAITH Services is one of the largest and most diversified providers of services to persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Hudson County. The agency has five offices, and operates the county emergency programs, which provide medicine, emergency housing, utility assistance, rental assistance and food.
All services are provided free of charge to eligible individuals active in case management. FAITH services can always use volunteers to assist in its outreach programs, or to help organize fundraisers and special events.
For more information call (201) 792-6161.
10. Work at an animal shelter
Every day, the Liberty Animal Shelter at 235 Jersey City Blvd. in Jersey City rescues hungry dogs and cats. But once they are rescued, it takes money and labor to make sure they are properly cared for.
The shelter is in need of people to walk dogs, socialize cats, assist with adoptions, raise funds, and clean animal housing.
The Liberty Humane Society is a non-profit organization founded by individuals who are concerned about the plight or homeless dogs and cats in Hudson County. The Shelter is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, visit www.libertyanimalshelter.petfinder.com or call (201) 547-4286.
11. Do what best fits your talents
Many Americans are already volunteering a few hours each week or month with a local school, church, neighborhood association, hospital or other local service organization, and many more are serving full-time in the military or other programs. But there are still those who don’t know where to start.
One organization that matches busy volunteers with local opportunities, some requiring as short a commitment as two hours, is Jersey Cares, based in Morristown. For more information call (973) 644-4952.
One of the best resources for finding local volunteer opportunities is the USA Freedom Corps web site at www.usafreedomcorps.gov. It is the country’s single largest database for volunteer opportunities. The USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network includes America’s Promise, Idealist.org, the Points of Light Foundation, Network for Good, The United Way, Volunteer Match, National Mentoring Partnership, and SERVEnet, each of which represent thousands of organizations using volunteer services to meet important community needs. The network also includes the federal government agencies that offer opportunities for more than one million Americans to get involved in volunteer service each year, including the land management agencies that are part of Volunteer.gov/gov, the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Learn and Serve America and the newly-created Citizen Corps.