White Plains 'Day of Giving' honors 9/11, helps hurricane victims

Joe Torres Image
Monday, September 11, 2017
White Plains 'Day of Giving' honors 9/11, helps hurricane victims
Joe Torres reports on a day of giving in White Plains for those in need.

WHITE PLAINS, Westchester County (WABC) -- Many communities are turning the somber anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks into a positive, giving back to those in need.

In White Plains, they used this "Day of Giving" to help the millions of people affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Those who turned out donated their blood, supplies and time at the Westchester County Center in a perfect union of service and remembrance.

"I'm giving thanks for myself and my family and my friends," volunteer Peggy Shebanie said. "But I want to give back to people who have given so much with their lives."

Six years ago, the folks at Volunteer New York! organized the annual day of giving at the request of 9/11 families. They wanted an outlet for people not just to remember, but also to act. And this year, that included donating supplies to the hurricane victims.

"They want to add some positive meaning to this horrific day," said Alisa Kesten, with Volunteer New York! "And so every year, it not only helps the families, but it helps people."

There were people sewing blankets for children in shelters, college students preparing care packages for deployed soldiers, and some retired teachers from Ossining making laundry sachets for women who were once homeless.

"We do volunteer in our own hometown of Ossining, but I wanted to give back in general," volunteer Patty Bassak said. "And when I saw this opportunity with Volunteer New York!, I said this is the perfect thing to do."

More than 30,000 diapers and wipes are bound for Houston, and people like Zureena Loucas donated life's most precious gift: blood.

"I think a lot of us forget that we are here today," Loucas said. "So we should be appreciative and grateful and give back to the community."

They are volunteers who are honored to serve those who served with honor 16 years ago.