Today marks the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that shocked and devastated America, killing nearly 3,000 people — a day Americans will never forget. With the opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum and the Fulton Center subway hub, downtown Manhattan finally looks revitalized, but thousands of first responders and victims are still suffering from medical issues caused by their time surrounded by ash and debris at ground zero. Even 14 years later, there are still ways you can help 9/11 victims.
Although it might seem like the country has mostly recovered from the terrorist attacks, many victims are living with lifelong illnesses because of them. About 33,000 responders and victims have at least one injury or illness due to the attacks, and at least two-thirds of those have multiple injuries, including chronic diseases like asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, and different cancers. There are federal programs and nonprofits dedicated to assisting 9/11 victims, but some are in jeopardy of ending, and the ones that aren't could always use additional donations or support.
Another group greatly affected by 9/11, the children of those killed in the attacks, needs continued help, especially when it comes to paying for college, and there are numerous scholarship funds dedicated to financially supporting them.
If you want to help 9/11 victims and first responders, even 14 years after the tragic attacks, here are nine ways you can contribute to continued relief efforts and victim assistance.
James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Act
If you want to support a long-term solution to assisting 9/11 victims, join Jon Stewart and the Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act's battle with Congress to permanently renew 2010 legislation that helps victims receive health care for 9/11-related injuries and illnesses. Stewart will join first responders in Washington, D.C. next week to lobby Congress to pass a new version of the James Zadroga Act that would make permanent the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical treatment for responders, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which compensates victims. You can help champion the James Zadroga Act by contacting your Congress members and urging them to co-sponsor the bill.
Families Of Freedom Scholarship Fund
Started right after the attacks, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund helps people who are permanently disabled and children of victims who were killed in 9/11. In the 2014-15 school year, the fund distributed $12.5 million in scholarships to 760 students, according to the Associated Press. You can donate on the fund's website.
The FealGood Foundation advocates for injured emergency personnel, including 9/11 first responders, who need medical benefits. The founder, John Feal, lost part of his foot while supervising recovery and clean-up efforts after the 2001 attacks. You can donate on the FealGood Foundation's website.
Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation
Founded in memory of Michael Lynch, a FDNY firefighter who died responding to the 9/11 attacks, this charity provides scholarships to the children of firefighters, and other victims, killed in 9/11. Since it began, the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation has provided 158 scholarships worth a total of $4.6 million. You can donate to the scholarship fund on the foundation's website.
Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project helps servicemen and servicewomen who were physically or mentally injured on or after 9/11. The project's mission is to raise public awareness about injured service members, help the injured assist one another, and provide direct programs to meet the needs of hurt service members. You can donate to the Wounded Warrior Project on its website.
As a part of its "long term healing model," Tuesday's Children helps 9/11 victims and their families through career resources, youth mentoring, mental health and wellness, and other support programs, as well as those affected by terrorism worldwide. You can fund its programs by donating to Tuesday's Children online.
VOICES Of September 11th
Dedicated to helping meet the long-term needs of families affected by 9/11, VOICES of September 11th works with the World Trade Center Health Program to help victims get the health care they need. The nonprofit also created the VOICES 9/11 Living Memorial Project, an online collection of more than 70,000 photos commemorating the lives lost in the attacks. You can donate on VOICES' website.
National September 11 Memorial Museum
The National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City pays tribute to the lives lost and those forever affected by the 2001 terrorist attacks. The museum's website says: "Contribute today to help build a lasting place for remembrance, reflection and learning for years to come." You can donate to the museum online.
New York Says Thank You
The New York Says Thank You foundation focuses on empowering 9/11 survivors, along with victims of other New York disasters, like Hurricane Sandy. It holds an annual "9/11 barn-raising" where the organization encourages survivors of the attacks to help rebuild and strengthen communities affected by other tragedies. You can donate to New York Says Thank You online.
Images: Families Of Freedom Scholarship Fund (1); FealGood Foundation (1); Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation (1); Wounded Warrior Project (1); Tuesday's Children (1); VOICES of September 11th (1); New York Says Thank You (1)