ST. PETERSBURG — Every September 11th, we as Americans think back to that horrific day in New York City and remember the victims, the fallen first responders and their families. Yolanda McCloud, a St. Petersburg resident, does much more than remembers, she delivers good food and offers good fellowship to firefighters at multiple stations every September 11th.
She remembers seeing the tragic events unfold September 11, 2001, as she watched the news on television, and sent prayers up for the victims, firefighters and our country. Like many, her heart was heavy, and she sent prayers up for her country.
Having a cousin who is a firefighter at Station #8 in St. Petersburg, she’s concerned every day for his safety and the safety of other firefighters around the nation.
McCloud appreciates the bravery and courage the firefighters in NYC displayed, but also wanted to show her appreciation to local firefighters for their bravery. On September 11, 2002, she bought baked goods and showed up to Station #8, 4701 Martin Luther King Jr. St. to show her appreciation to the firefighters.
“They were so happy to see me there,” McCloud said. “I loved seeing them smile, and we laughed together.”
McCloud told some of her friends about her time spent at the fire station, and they all volunteered to help out on the September 11th anniversary. The next year she showed up with some friends and more food, and the firefighters were just as happy and grateful for the kindness as the year before.
So they ended up branching out to other fire stations on the south side to show their appreciation. Every year since then, they have not missed showing their appreciation to firefighters on September 11, and this group of women, calling themselves the 9-11 Angels, has added more fire stations to the list and more volunteers.
“We start preparing the food the day before,” McCloud said. “All the women bring some type of food, from good soul food to sweet tea.”
This year, the 18 ladies in the group brought an array of foods that included meatballs, a variety of chicken dishes, cornbread, and green beans to the stations.
“I don’t like cooking,” McCloud said with a laugh, “so I buy brownies, cookies and cakes.”
The Angels serve Stations #1, #5, #3, #8 and #11. Every year, their goal is to have the dinners delivered to the stations by 4:15 p.m. A reminder call goes out a day before to get the firefighters salivating.
McCloud explained that membership is open to anyone who is willing to be dedicated to this good cause and attend their monthly meetings. This past June the 9-11 Angels became a non-profit. She had the help of her sister-in-law, Marlo Scott, and Carol Alexander, director of Next Stepp Life Center with applying for non-profit status.
“I want to give a big thank you to them for helping me,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without them. It was such a simple process because of their knowledge.”
McCloud wants to continue expanding membership and volunteers so that they can continue to do more for the community, especially to help a family who has been devastated by the loss of their home due to a fire.
Currently they’re able to provide a gift basket with toiletries to a family that has lost their home to a fire. In the future, McCloud would like to expand on what all they can do for a local family or firefighter displaced by the devastation of a fire.
For more information about how you can become a member or a volunteer of 9-11 Angels, Inc., contact McCloud via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to like them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nineeleven.angels.