More than 2,000 first responders in the New York tri-state area enjoyed breakfast and an outpouring of support from Jewish college students and young professionals in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The initiative, which honored emergency workers in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia, was organized by the Orthodox Union’s Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (OU-JLIC).

The OU-JLIC community at New York University has run similar programs for the past five years. This year, six other campuses, including Columbia University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Queens College, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, also joined the initiative.

Some 250-plus donors across all seven campuses contributed to the cause with about 100 volunteers distributing the breakfasts.

Since 9/11 fell out on Shabbat this year, students held the official event on Friday, Sept. 10.

Students and young professionals from the campuses donated $9.11 through Venmo, and the money went towards bagels, coffee and doughnuts. Volunteers, who came from the same group, then distributed to local firefighters, police officers and homeless shelters in the local areas.

“This program helps to foster a stronger understanding within our participants about the impact they can have on our local communities even outside of the walls of the classrooms and the borders of their campuses, said Rabbi Joe Wolfson, co-director of OU-JLIC at NYU and the program’s national chesed coordinator.” It trains them to look beyond their own immediate environment to see how they can help others and gives them a sense of agency that they don’t have to be passive but can actively contribute to society.”

Surplus funds were donated to Tuesday’s Children, a nonprofit organization that provides support to families who have lost a loved one to mass violence, terrorism or military service since 9/11.

Currently, 25 colleges and universities have OU-JLIC programming.

Students and young professionals from the campuses donated $9.11 through Venmo, and the money went towards bagels, coffee and doughnuts. Credit: OU-JLIC.

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