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Valley volunteers turning day of tragedy into day of service

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Sep 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-12 01:16:24-04

PHOENIX — Millions of people give back each 9/11 across the country, making it our nation’s largest annual day of charitable service.

Here in Phoenix, hundreds of people came together at the Phoenix Convention Center to turn a day of tragedy into a day of service.

The Phoenix Meal Pack for 9/11 Day started with the ringing of the bell, in remembrance of those who lost their lives 20 years ago.

“One, two, three...let’s pack,” said Monica Garnes, the President of Fry’s Food Stores, while kicking off the event.

Then, it was all hands on deck to pack meals for those in need.

Garnes says this is her third time volunteering at this event.

“Our goal today is to pack 200,000 meals, and 2.5 million meals across the United States. And those meals that we pack here today will service St. Mary’s Food Bank and United Food Bank right here in Arizona,” she added.

Jiya Mutyala was also there, volunteering with her family.

She was born six years after 9/11 and says she was moved when she visited ground zero, in New York.

“It’s a really powerful exhibit, so I try to channel that when I’m volunteering, and I think about the firefighters and the first line responders who were there, on the scene,” said Mutyala.

Navy veteran Kelly Corsette says he remembers 9/11 like it was yesterday.

“I remember after the event. There were flags everywhere and when I got up this morning, I put up my flag...and I think I was the only one in my neighborhood who had. So, I think we’re already starting to forget and it’s important that we don’t forget,” Corsette told ABC15.

He says events like these help people remember those who died that day.

“We have to keep working together and serving each other to keep the memory of the victims alive and keep our nation strong,” he added.

“I’m so glad that I can help out and I can be a part of this. So, going forward I’d like to do this every year,” said Mutyala.

“I feel like it’s honoring those that we lost that day and the wishes of the family. So, I feel honored to be here,” Garnes told ABC15.

By 4 p.m., volunteers were able to meet the goal, and pack 200,000 meals.