Day of Chesed (kindness), Service and Remembrance

WINNER: $50,000 Challenge Recipient

The Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester (JCC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the community by providing cultural, social, educational and recreational/fitness programs, human services and Jewish identity-building opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds. The JCC is located  approximately 30 miles north of the World Trade Center, in the middle of Westchester County, NY; more than one hundred Westchester residents were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

  • Participating Organizations: ( others to be added)

The JCC is planning a Day of Chesed (Kindness), Service and Remembrance for Sept. 11, 2011 and will host the following organizations and activities:

  1. White Plains Hospital – blood drive
  2. Gift of Life Foundation – bone marrow screening
  3. Locks of Love- hair donation to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
  4. Dorot( Generations Helping Generations) – prepare and deliver food baskets and visit with the elderly
  5.  Kid’s Kloset – collect and sort clothing for children in need
  6. Hope Community Services- food pantry drive, preparation of sandwiches
  7. Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty– collection of honey
  8. Operation Support our Troops  – collection of items for overseas troops; greeting cards made by children
  9. Pet Rescue - pets will be available for adoption; donations of pet toys


  • Community Needs and Challenges:

All of the participating organizations and activities provide much needed assistance and comfort in different forms to the designated recipients; they need to have local community facilities to provide space and attract people to donate hair, blood, food, etc.  Hosting them in one central location, as a part of a collective effort to demonstrate service, kindness and compassion, provides a much greater opportunity for as many children, teens and adults as possible to support these very compelling causes.  The JCC plans to make this an annual commemorative event, with an increasing level of participation in the coming years.

 Volunteers of all ages will also be invited to decorate a link for a paper chain, with words or pictures to represent the day; the links will be joined to form a very large paper chain that will be displayed around the building, to represent the connectedness and strength that results when individuals come together for a greater purpose.

  • Commemoration of losses and recognition of service and sacrifice:

The above activities will take place from 8:30 am to 4pm; there will be moments of silence at each of the significant moments of the 9/11 attacks, with a remembrance ceremony at 1pm.   A local high school band and chorus will play and lead the singing of the national anthem and other music appropriate for the occasion.

The remembrance ceremony will include local elected officials, including Mayor Noam Bramson, as well as state and county representatives. The victims of 9/11 will be remembered and local 9/11 families will be invited to attend. The local first responders, as well as the overseas troops and veterans will also be recognized for their heroic service.

The ceremony will focus on the evolution of the National Day of Service and Remembrance, which came about through the efforts of 9/11 families. One of those family members, Jay Winuk, is a co-founder of, and resides near Westchester County. We contacted Mr. Winuk about our event, and he is going to provide a video about the meaning of the Day of Service, which will be shown during the ceremony. We will also utilize the nonprofit toolkit from the website, which is an excellent resource.

  • Volunteer numbers and documentation:

The volunteers for this event will include many high school teens to sort the clothes, make the sandwiches, collect donations, and otherwise provide assistance as needed to the participating organizations. The teens will begin their day with a group meeting that will incorporate the service learning curriculum that is available through the 911dayofservice website, so that they will have  an understanding and sense of purpose  of this very important day, as well as the need to provide service to others on all other days as well.

In addition to the teens, volunteers will be recruited throughout the local community, with an anticipated participation of 500 to 1,000 or more. All volunteers will be asked upon entry to provide name and phone/email contact information, as well as their first activity of the day, as documentation of their participation.

Other volunteers include local merchants who are donating items such as food for the sandwiches, snacks for the volunteers, and items to be sold for the benefit of the participating organizations.

Volunteer Accomplishments:

All volunteers are expected to provide service and contribute in as many ways as possible to the participating organizations and to develop a greater awareness of the organizations that they may not be as familiar with, with the hope that they will continue to be involved with some organizations on an ongoing basis beyond the day.

Promotion of the Day of Service

  • Promotion on the JCC website , email blasts and mailings to the our participant base of many thousands
  • Fliers /posters will be distributed around the community, in stores, libraries, train stations, etc.
  • Registration on
  •  Multiple press releases from JCC, participating organizations, elected officials, municipalities to all local media
  • Advertisements and anticipated coverage by local newspapers and other media (Jay Winuk frequently speaks to The Journal News(Gannett) , the main Westchester newspaper and has offered to mention the JCCs event in upcoming interviews)
  • Websites and other promotion by  participating organizations, including social media




Submitted by Celia Cuce, Assistant Executive Director,, 914-472-7086