USA: Peace Starts With Me Volunteers Give Back During the Holiday Season
Prepared by FFWPU USA
Leading up to the Peace Starts With Me Clergy Rally on December 28, dozens of Unificationist youth and community members participated in a number of Peace Starts With Me service projects, supporting notable groups in the tri-state area. Volunteers truly exemplified “living for the sake of others” and moved the hearts of organizers who witnessed their investment and hard work through their participation in three major projects occurring this past November and December.
Newark Mayor’s Annual Turkey Giveaway
A few days before Thanksgiving on November 25, 60 Peace Starts With Me volunteers helped out at an all-day turkey giveaway, organized by the Newark Mayor’s office, at the JFK Recreation Center. About 30 volunteers arrived for the first half of the day, arriving as early as 6:30 a.m. The Peace Starts With Me group began the day by unloading more than 6000 frozen turkeys from towers of boxes. Later in the morning, other local volunteer groups arrived and worked together with Peace Starts With Me to unload and bag other donated Thanksgiving food items. In the afternoon, a fresh wave of Peace Starts With Me volunteers came to relieve the morning group, consisting mostly of mothers and fathers from local Unificationist communities. Due to their speed and efficiency, the food bagging was completed much earlier than expected. The rest of the day was spent handing out turkeys and bags of food and packing up equipment as things wrapped up in the evening.
The staff from the Newark Mayor’s office was extremely grateful for the entire Peace Starts With Me team. Click here to see a Unificationist youth volunteer who was interviewed by NBC New York!
Thanksgiving Meal for the Homeless
On November 28, just a few days after the first service event, the New Hope Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in Newark, hosted a free Thanksgiving meal for the homeless at the Robert Treat Hotel on Thanksgiving Day. More than 50 Peace Starts With Me volunteers came to help with loading, unloading and serving food to those in need, taking time out of their own Thanksgiving day schedules to serve others alongside their families. Volunteers also spent quality time talking and connecting with some of the homeless guests.
Annual Coat Drive in Harlem
The Liz Black Annual Coat Drive, hosted at the First Corinthians Baptist Church, was held on December 16 alongside a series of musical performances for homeless individuals and shelter families in Harlem, New York. The Peace Starts With Me service staff was joined by many young (and young at heart) volunteers who came to assist. Also, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) provided seven coat racks and 200 hangers after hearing that the coat drive was in need of more supplies. Volunteers sorted coat donations by gender and age and then gave them out to guests following the musical performances. Among the volunteers were Rev. Demian Dunkley, president of FFWPU-USA, accompanied by his wife, Yumiko Dunkley. Rev. Dunkley was invited onstage by Liz Black, the host of the event, to give a few words. He and his family attended all three Peace Starts With Me service projects to give support and offer food to the needy and encouragement to the volunteers.
Thank you to all the amazing volunteers who came to help and give their time!