Rotary packs bags for homeless veterans


The Freeport-Merrick Rotary Club collaborated with other rotary clubs and organizations across Long Island for its annual Rotary Day of Service, which took place on May 18 at Freeport High School.

The event, which started at 9 a.m., embodied the Rotary’s mission of giving back to the community.

Similar to the previous year, volunteers packed duffel bags with essential items and supplies to distribute to homeless veterans across Long Island.

The duffel bags contained items such as men’s underwear, crew socks, bath towels, washcloths, and various toiletries, including shaving kits, toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, shower gel, body lotion, and more.

This year’s Rotary Day of Service saw participation from over 800 rotary clubs from the U.S. and other countries like Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with around 30,000 members engaging in the event through various projects and initiatives.

DeRosette Harrison, the Freeport-Merrick Rotary Club secretary, led the organization of this year’s Day of Service for Nassau County.

Joining the Freeport-Merrick Rotary at the high school were Rotary clubs from Floral Park-Bellerose, South Queens, Southwest Queens, Hempstead-Uniondale, and the high school’s Interact Club, which partners with Rotary to involve students in community service projects.

“The Rotary motto is service above self,” said Jordan Pecora, vice-president of the Rotary Club when asked about the significance of the event.

“So if we can do service above self and have a multi-domestic, international, everyone doing it on one day, shows the power of Rotary and the effect that we can have on homeless vets.”

Beverly James, the prospective Rotary district governor and head of Rotary District 7255, assisted at the May 18 event at the high school. James’ home Rotary club is Hempstead-Uniondale.

Additionally, representatives from the Baldwin branch of Ridgewood Savings Bank and volunteers from Groove Phi Groove, a social fellowship founded as an alternative to mainstream historically black fraternities, were present at the event.

The Day of Service was coordinated with Rotary-funded General Needs, a non-profit based in East Northport led by founder Lonnie Sherman, which supports veterans across Long Island.

Long Island Cares in Freeport played a major role in this year’s event. Its Nassau Center for Collaborative Assistance was open that day—outside of its regular hours—to receive donations from the Day of Service and begin the distribution process.

Each Tuesday, Long Island Cares is closed to the public and open only to veterans, distributing supplies donated by Rotary Club members since April 2.

County Legislators Debra Mulè and Seth Koslow also participated in packing duffel bags and showed their support for the event.