Washington, D.C. - As the nation prepares to observe the first National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11, businesses large and small are planning volunteer events to help people in need in their communities.
The September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of a seven-year effort started by 9/11 family members and support groups to establish the service day as a way to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11 and to rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that followed the attacks.
September 11 was officially recognized as a National Day of Service and Remembrance by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, passed with strong bipartisan support and signed into law by President Obama in April.
Service projects marking the eight year anniversary of 9/11 will take place in all 50 states, ranging from food drives and home repairs to neighborhood cleanups and disaster preparation activities. In many areas, volunteers will honor veterans, soldiers, or first responders by collecting donations, assembling care packages, and writing thank you letters.
“We applaud companies that are taking part in this first official day of service and remembrance, and hope the trend will grow much bigger in the future,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “By encouraging employees to volunteer and supporting other community efforts, these businesses are setting a standard for others to follow.”
Service activities planned by businesses for September 11 include:
- GlaxoSmithKline will host a volunteer project with the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, during which GSK employees will lead class discussions with school children about H1N1 prevention and other healthy lifestyle topics.
- Timberland, Inc., made an ongoing commitment to the Clara Barton School in the Bronx nine years ago. That year, to close an annual strategy meeting with top executives and key retailers, Timberland scheduled a day of service to transform the school. After the terrorist attacks, the company pledged to serve in that school every year until the youngest child then attending the school graduated. This year's service event will be spent building an outdoor learning garden in what is today an empty lot in the neighborhood.
- Hasbro, Inc., employees in Pawtucket, RI, will assemble much-needed kits for two organizations, World Vision and Birthday Wishes. The Caregiver Kits for World Vision will equip caregivers with a year's worth of necessary supplies to help children and families of those who are sick with HIV and AIDS in Zambia. The Birthday Wishes kits will provide parties to children living in homeless shelters in Rhode Island and western Massachusetts, giving them a chance to celebrate their birthdays.
- Microsoft expects more than 4,000 of its U.S.-based employees to contribute approximately 30,000 service hours on September 11, including in numerous projects in Seattle through the United Way. Microsoft matches the time that employees volunteer in the community, donating $17 per hour to eligible organizations they serve.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce employees will partner with Greater DC Cares on the Congressional Cemetery Project in Washington, DC. Chamber volunteers will perform beautification and restoration work at this historic site, including digging and raising granite footstones, seeding & mulching, and removing woody brush and ivy.
- Amway expects more than 150 of its employees to participate in three scheduled service projects. Amway employees will refurbish a YMCA camp and a Girl Scout camp near Grand Rapids, MI. In addition, other employees will be matched with children for a day of mentoring and at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum and Grand Rapids Library.
- Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, taking place this week in New York City, will include an exhibit with information in support of the 9/11 Day of Service. In addition, MyGoodDeed is sponsoring an online charity auction beginning September 11 that will feature Spring 2010 collections items donated by several top designers at www.911dayofservice.org/runway.
- Through the Levi Strauss Foundation, Levi Strauss & Co. will double the volunteer service grant it offers to employees who volunteer between September 11 and November 11. The foundation gives a maximum of $2,400 a year per employee to nonprofit organizations where the company's employees volunteer.