Many thanks to Heather for sending in the email letting us know where to volunteer.
Volunteering (archive)

Posted by Rachel on September 20, 2001 at 01:02:37:

    (posted from: (

I checked the map, confirmed by phone, planned my route and headed to the only volunteering place that would take me. The requirement was "warm body".
I can do that.
Dont get me wrong, I understand all too well why they could only recruit known and creditialed volunteers officially.
It's a bit too far to walk, and public transportation is spotty, they said there was parking so Emmy got to take the ride.
When I got to 7th avenue and West Houston I tried ot make a right- but the police stopped me.
Next block, same deal. I found a space and parked.
As I walked towards Pier 40 I saw that cars were flowing freely- it was *only* those two blocks that were blocked off, and I later found out why. It was a good thing I didn't know why at the time.
It took a moment to realize what I was looking at on the West side Highway. Out in the open air against a chain link fence between rows of police barricades were regular people and lots of boxes and buckets.
Turns out the boxes and buckets were full of well sorted items.
A mountain of water. God Bless Poland Springs.
Ice came from nowhere.
Boxes of goggles, masks, eye drops and saline solution, batteries, flash lights, juices, gatorade, extension cords, piles of shovels, pallets, shopping carts, a medical area, a couple makeshift tents and tables and chairs.
I presented myself as a qualified warm body, signed in, name and phone number. They told me to basically hang out with my name tag on and people would ask for help.
And so I did.

There were about a dozen people standing in the right hand lane of traffic holding water bottles and wearing masks, some had kits already packed intheir hands to shove into the vehicles as they went by.
They traffic was a mix of civilians and rescue workers. They were getting good at picking out which vehicles were which.
Sometimes it was a pick up truck of guys- but then one of them was wearing a uniform.
Every kind of government vehicle was going by, Department of Energy, Police, Fire, Army, hummers, City buses full of very stunned looking firefighters. Garbage trucks, construction workers, and some surprises. Federal Express trucks would stop by and load up and take goods down to ground zero. Rental trucks driven by garbagemen. These workers knew the volunteer station and would pull up and let it be known what was needed. Someone would shout out HARD HATS and everyone would scramble looking for the box with hardhats.
Even the rescue workers who didn't stop would flash their lights and run their sirens to say Thank You as they went by.
Some of them, many of them would thank us for just caring.
I would tell them that there are hundreds of people who care, who are desperatly wanting to volunteer but are turned away. I wanted them to know they had everyone's support.

While we waited for someone to help, people told stories. Stories of how they had been there for 4 days and had trouble with the authorities. People who had been to ground zero.
One man had a friend who was at ground zero and felt the ground shaking under her. They began to dig. They found a fire engine, it's engine still running.
Some had been to Chelsea Piers and the Javits Center.
They had names like Carlos, Aia, Mike, James and Christina. There was a guy there who had one side of his head shaved and one side of his head hairy and a beard- also on one side.
I was thinking about how John Rocker had described us and thought he was right, we do look funny.

Someone would say "we have to move this pile of water" and a line would form immediately to pass it hand to hand.
We learned a few things about hand to hand moving:
Put the string guys on the top of the incline and the bottom of the incline, and try to get folks the same height- passing across is easy, but passing up or down is hard, and if you stand across from each other there is less twisting.
Everyone kept asking if I was OK. I was great, it felt so much better to be doing something instead of sitting in my apartment worrying.
We could fill up a Fedex truck pretty fast.

Two people showed up with boxes- they had driven from Allentown to give. What is it about people from Allentown anyway? They are so good. The boxes came also with words of love and hope in red white and blue.
It is all volunteer with no leaders, so anyone who comes up with an idea is welcome. I noticed another station on the East Side and asked if they needed anything. They could use some water.
When I tell you there was a mountain of water, I have to tell you this was a small mountain compared to the big big mountain everyone told me they had earlier.
Some of the rescue workers accepted a cheer or applause and smiled and waved- some were utterly somber.

If you turned south, ever, even for a moment, you saw the monster.
It was steaming like the night Rich and I drove back into the city, but closer.
Shooting familiar and unfamiliar, I hadn't realized how I took that view for granted.
It was the monster, and the rescue workers were like knights going off to battle the Dragon, and we like peasants running along side their steeds wishing them well and giving them aid.
It was all we could do.
All we could do.
The monster.

It stunk, I think it was the river that smelled.
Someone came with hot mint tea and coffee, and as I started to drink it, I realized that I would have to pee if I did. I asked if there was a bathroom and the good news is that there was in Pier 40, the bad news is that it was filthy beyond reason.
The authorites have said the volunteer station has to move on Friday morning, they are thinking of moving it somewhere else.
It is intellgently located. I surmised that the Holland Tunnel remains "closed" because it is now solely for the use of rescue vehicles. I call everything going to Ground Zero a "rescue" vehicle, because I don't know what else to call it.
Since the Holland Tunnel is what brings rescue personnel and goods to the city, and it goes straight down the west side to the WTC, a volunteer station positioned on the West Side Highway makes perfect sense.
Instead of expecting rescue personnel to come into a building, stopping on the way to the site, these people run up to their cars and trucks and stick it in their windows.
After a couple hours, I felt the need to go- although I could see staying there all night. I showed them the pics I took and they were thrilled. I will be sending them on, as well as posting some on the page I am building.
I left with some people and walked back to Emmy. I nearly drove her up to the volunteer station for a photo op- but if I was in any way in anyone's way I would just go nuts so I didn't.
I had a chat with the cops who were near Emmy, apologizing because apparently her alarm was going off a lot from traffic passing by.
Some of the cops were kidding me about my "M" and I said it was "just a 2.8". The one said he drives an M3. We started to pretend to compete. He said he can't drive a Z3 because then he'd speed. I said "Oh so you drive an M3 because you are afraid to drive as fast as me?" We all had a pretty good chuckle at my gaffe.
I asked if they needed anything, they said they had it all in their vans plus the red cross had just been by and would be back.
They said they were also volunteers- I didn't realize these were not NYC cops- these guys were from Nassau, and they were volunteering, unpaid, on their free time.

I pointed out that only these two blocks were blocked off, they explained that this was the Immigration Dentention Center. These is where the people they have arrested in connection with the attack are jailed.
I felt anger rise in me from my soul, my first instinct was to run inside and kill them.
Hell hath no fury like a blonde from NYC.
So now I understood why they were there, to stop us from breaking in and killing the terrorists.
About this time, the red cross folks showed back up with food and water for the Nassau cops, and they kept trying to feed me too. I kept telling them I would like to feed them.
They explained that I could go to the Red Cross at 67th and Amsterdam, volunteer to be trained, and once I was trained they would be able to use me.
He reminded me that the Red Cross stays with people until they are back on their own two feet and that continual help over months is going to be the problem.
I pointed out that they should be telling people who want to give blood that it is *only good for 40 days*. People hear that there is enough blood and they figure that's cool. People are told to get an appointment and come back later, and that there will be a need, but they dont get it that in 40 days ALL THIS BLOOD IS WORTHLESS.
Lisa told me. She's from Allentown. I am tellin ya, there is something going on with these people from Allentown.
He said it was a really good point and that I should tell someone in administration.
I told him I doubt there is anyone in Red Cross Administration that is interested in my advice, but I would try and I hoped he would too. He said no, not me. He said no a lot. I support them and I am grateful for the work they do- still I can see why the volunteers are so irritated.
I felt bad leaving, but good that I had come and helped some. Even a little.
Red Cross workers and the Nassau Cops

Flowers outside the firestation

When I got home, I couldn't go straight inside. As I left the garage some self important punk was giving the garage attendant a hard time over his bill.
I went to the Vigil.
It was so beautiful.

If any of you people from outside New York lost loved ones in New York City, rest assured their souls are being prayed for, cherished and loved.

By us artists and freaks in the Village and Union Square. There were people dressed in evening gowns, and this one fellow making art out of our finger prints.
Did the terrorists think they would cause us to turn on one another? Did they think they could grow hate? Did they think we'd run around in confusion? Big miscalculation, they grew love.
Love and beauty.
The fine weather has allowed these candles and these papers to grow. The park is opened up, the gardens are decorated. It's a shrine. Music and prayer and goodwill towards others, messages of peace and hope and brotherhood, all over the park.
People singing together and paying respects.
Did they think we'd do that?

Clarkson and West Side Highway, Pier 40, 24 hours a day

Follow Ups:

Donations for children of food service workers (archive)

Posted by Rachel on September 19, 2001 at 10:37:38:

    (posted from: (
Most of the food service workers killed in the disaster were coffeee shop employees, dishwashers and kitchen staff at the bottom of the pay scale.

The Manhattan restaurant community is raising money to help the relatives- including as many as 500 children- of the food service workers killed at the World Trade Center.

Donations intended to help their families can be sent to Windows of Hope Family Reflief Fund
c/o Beacon Restaurant
25 W 56th St.
New York, NY 10019

-from today's New York Post
(will be added to 7 days in Hell pages later)

You remember Mike, the Notary from Oklahoma I met for 3 seconds in a parking lot last week for Homecoming?
It seems so long ago now.

Mike writes:
Personal side note (archive)

Posted by MJDude on September 19, 2001 at 12:29:04:

In Reply to: Donations for children of food service workers posted by Rachel on September 19, 2001 at 10:37:38:

    (posted from: (
My company had 24 food service locations that were affected and are now closed. Some are gone, some are just in the area and should reopen. That represents a total of 600 of our employees that don't have a place to go to work right now.
The good news is that NONE of our employees were injured (8 locations were in the WTC towers). Other good news is that the company will work to find them temporary or permanent jobs elsewhere in the city.
The bad news is that many of them are pretty devastated right now. Many of them have been working to distribute the food and beverages our company is giving to the rescue workers, some are without jobs right now. Many of the other establishments are mom and pop operations that don't have a big corporation behind them.
This is an overlooked segment of the society very often. The people who get off of the welfare rolls to go to work. They don't earn a lot but many work very very hard for their families. They could use the help.
Thanks Rachel,
Mike from OK
Mike wrote me in an email :
" Having gone through a similar incident in 1995
 (7 blocks from the site, sitting 1 foot from a plate glass
 window that blew in) 
I can truly understand how you are feeling. "

And an invite to come visit his family in Oklahoma.
Mike really is one of the few people who can understand how we are feeling now.
The last time I felt like this was in '95 when a terrorist blew up the Murrah Federal Building.
I remember then NY firefighters joined with so many others to help them after that horrific disaster.
I remember all of New York and a huge banner proclaiming their city as our sister city.
It doesn't matter who the terrorists are. To us what matters is this:
The victims, the workers and the displaced
Making sure it never happens again
Loving our neighbors.
And like so many touched by the Holocost- Never forgetting.
Tuesday September 11, 2001
****Ways To Contribute Here!****
WTC Z3ers
Prelude to War Introduction~~ Tuesday September 11 NYC Z3ers in danger ~~
RichNYC, Mark V, Mick & the Vigil Begins
Wednesday September 12 The Morning After, Accounting for the Living~~
W.B, TimUK, Jake, Jahox, Lisa, edscuba, Alan
Thursday September 13 Rebuild and Remembering~~
TomY, Betty ///M
Friday September 14 Rising Up in Prayers~~
SigmaNu6, SHZ3, BMW Manufacturing, Inside the Night Vigil
Found Friends, Saturday September 15
RichNYC, Mario, JonT, Lisa, Rachel, Dadofour
Part 1 Leaving NYC ~~ Part 2 Blood, Police and Prayer ~~ Part 3 Faces, Friends and Hugs ~~ Part 4 Laughter and photos ~~ Part 5 Catharsis Drive ~~
Part 6 September 4th of July ~~ Part 7 Good Eats ~~ Part 8 Trespassing ~~
Part 9 Skipping Bricks ~~ Part 10 Packing out in Glory ~~ Part 11 Country Roads ~~ Part 12 Dunkin Doughnuts ~~ Part 13 Mario and Leann's ~~
Part 14 New City Lights ~~
Part 15 Back at the Message Board Saturday night~~
(Teachum's Video File)
Sunday September 16, More Z3ers come home ~~
Pat, Zeattle Dave, NKYBimmer
Monday September 17, Z3ers Creating Beauty~~
(Flag Z3)
Kevin in NH, DaveP, Bill WJZBMW, Inside the Daytime Vigil

(a lot of graphics- all worth it imho)
Tuesday September 18, Comics~~
Wednesday September 19, Volunteering~~
many more Z3ers and people have been helping, more than I could mention, THANK YOU!
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