Build A Better World for the Elderly on 9/11

WINNER: $50,000 Challenge Recipient

Project Summary: DOROT’s 9/11 Day of Service Project

In recognition of the tenth anniversary of the tragic events surrounding September 11, 2001, DOROT, a New York City-based organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of the elderly, will conduct a special intergenerational community service project, 9/11 Day of Service and Rosh Hashanah Package Delivery. This project will not only help people in need, but will also demonstrate the importance of working together to positively impact our community, a lesson so powerfully revealed through the heroic efforts of our city’s service men and women during 9/11.

This project will consist of two components:

9/11 Food Package Delivery – Over 800 volunteers of all ages will prepare, pack, and deliver approximately 550 food packages and gifts to 550 homebound seniors living on the Upper West and East Sides of Manhattan and Westchester County. The food will be delivered on September 11, 2011. The hundreds of volunteers who deliver the food packages will also spend time visiting with the seniors, helping to alleviate the loneliness and social isolation so commonly experienced by elderly people. The packages will also contain handmade cards (created by approximately 300 volunteers of all ages throughout the previous summer) that commemorate the day and give a message of hope. 

Cards for New York City Service Men and Women – We will also commemorate the lives lost on 9/11 and honor the ongoing service of New York City’s firefighters, police officers, and other service men and women through specially designed postcards created by DOROT volunteers. These cards will be delivered to local precincts and fire stations throughout Manhattan. 

In addition, DOROT has decided to incorporate a 9/11-focused day of service as a new annual tradition, one that will bring even greater meaning and importance to the intergenerational volunteerism that lies at the heart of the organization. This yearly remembrance will be an integral part of DOROT’s longstanding tradition of fall meal deliveries to homebound elderly—for more than 30 years the organization has delivered meals to seniors in need before Rosh Hashanah (DOROT, Hebrew for “generations” has a large Jewish constituency, although the organization also serves the wider community). 

Need for this Project: Working Together to Serve the Elderly

Providing food for the elderly is of high importance due to reduced support from public and private sources. The number of seniors in New York City is growing, and many suffer from poverty (according to the National Academy of Science, one out of every three seniors residing in the five boroughs lives below the poverty line) and social isolation. This project will not only help to meet a basic need, but will also help to alleviate the loneliness and social isolation that so many aging people experience. Having warm and enjoyable visits with concerned members of the community is something many seniors greatly value, especially during a national day of remembrance such as 9/11. It is a time when all people, regardless of age, can benefit from friendship and support. Younger volunteers will also benefit, developing compassion in regards to the challenges faced by today's seniors.

Volunteer Recruitment, Objectives, and Tracking Information

DOROT’s 9/11 Day of Service Project will be put into action with the engagement of a dedicated group of over 800 volunteers, to be recruited through DOROT's community of over 6,000 volunteers. DOROT will also welcome volunteers for this project from Barnard College, Birthright Alumni, Columbia University, Goldman Sachs, University of Pennsylvania Alumni (New York Group), Manhattan Jewish Experience, Mary Mount College, New York Cares, New York University, Park Avenue Synagogue, UJA-Federation of New York, and Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University.

DOROT has been working with thousands of volunteers since its inception in 1976, and is highly experienced in managing and reporting accurate information on its volunteer activities. The number of volunteers, hours worked, type of services provided, and demographics will be meticulously tracked by DOROT’s Director of Volunteer Services and support staff. All volunteers will submit registration information that will provide additional data necessary to track their participation. 

Objectives for volunteers:

• Devote time to help those in need

• Take compassionate action by engaging in tasks such as preparing, packaging, and delivering food to homebound elderly and visiting them in their homes

• Take time to remember those who lost their lives during 9/11 through DOROT’s 9/11 Commemorative Card project, which provides handmade cards to homebound seniors created by volunteers of all ages

• Remember the lives lost on 9/11 and honor current civic service men and women through an intergenerational postcard project

• Join other community members and work together to help to meet a crucial community need that might not otherwise be realized

Promoting DOROT’s 9/11 Day of Service Project

The project will be made public through DOROT's website,, and its newsletter. DOROT will also send a press release to local press and media.

About DOROT: A Brief Overview

DOROT was founded in 1976 by a group of Columbia University students who were concerned about the plight of the homebound elderly in their midst. Today DOROT serves thousands of homebound and homeless seniors in the greater New York metropolitan area each year through a wealth of vital resources that offer a path to healthy aging. Comprehensive services include home delivered meals, shopping and escort services, homelessness prevention, health and wellness activities, friendly visiting programs, caregiver support, and many others. DOROT’s services are available to seniors regardless of gender, race, or religion.


All of us at DOROT look forward to taking part in the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance through our 9/11 Day of Service and Rosh Hashanah Package Delivery project. Working together to serve the community in this way not only helps to build a better world for the elderly, it will also serve as a positive tribute to commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.