NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Volunteers filled the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Monday to pack meals for those impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The event was part of the annual 9/11 Day co-founded by David Paine a year after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
"We wanted something good to come from the day. We didn't want the terrorists to define September 11 forever and ever," said David Paine, the co-founder 9/11 Day. "So we're taking back the day by turning it into something good."
About 2,500 volunteers were set to work two-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the goal of packing some 500,000 boxes of jambalaya, just one of many types of dry perishables to provide emergency food relief.
"It's personal. I have family and friends down there and my first thought is what can I do to help because I'm so far away and I'm so lucky to up here right now," one volunteer said. "And this is an excellent opportunity for me to give back and do something right away."
The boxes were then taped and shrink-wrapped and will be sent to Texas and Florida -- shipped with love from New York City, acknowledging a day never to be forgotten.
"If anybody has the right to be selfish on this day it's New York. They have a right to say 'It's about us, we endured something horrible,'" another volunteer said. "But to be able to say 'We're part of a country and we're part of something bigger' and then 'let's give back.' It's not just about us and I think that's great."
Teens who were born on 9/11, family members of victims, military veterans, faith-based groups, and many others volunteered at the event.
The September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is a federally recognized day.