Hundreds of National Service Members Join Sandy Recovery Efforts

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Disaster Response and Recovery
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By: 
CNCS Staff

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced that approximately 936 national service members have been deployed to seven states affected by Hurricane Sandy, with 855 additional individuals on standby for assignments in the hardest-hit areas.

FEMA Corps members talk to Rockaway, NY, residents waiting in line to visit the Disaster Recovery Center on Nov. 3, 2012, after being impacted by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA)

National service members are assisting with shelter operations, call centers, debris removal, and mass care in response to Hurricane Sandy in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “We salute individuals at every level of government, in nonprofit and faith-based organizations, and in the private sector whose work is helping save lives, provide shelter, and rebuild communities. Our work is just beginning as first responders and other emergency personnel manage life-saving and rescue efforts. Before the recovery is complete, we expect thousands of national service members from AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs to help families and local and state officials rebuild these communities.”

Spencer formerly served as the CEO of the Florida Governor's Commission on Volunteerism. During Florida's record-breaking 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, Spencer led the agency in coordinating more than 252,000 volunteers and donations worth more than $85 million in its role as the lead state entity for Volunteer and Donations Management for Florida's Emergency Response Team.

CNCS is coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the American Red Cross, and state and local authorities. In addition, the agency is working with its state field offices and service commissions within the affected states and states outside Hurricane Sandy's path to deploy AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members.

Christine Beste, a Delaware native who is a team leader with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), is one of the national service members on the ground in New York.

"I like being able to hit the ground running, being responsible for shelters and for my team,” Beste said. “Every one of my family members has lost electricity in their homes in Delaware and Philadelphia. This work is important to me because I am helping people who are in a disastrous situation."

The on-the-ground members also include 41 of 42 FEMA Corps teams, all of which are going to New Jersey and New York. FEMA Corps is a partnership between FEMA and CNCS, and utilizes AmeriCorps NCCC members in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

For more updates about CNCS's actions related to Hurricane Sandy, please visit Serve.gov. You can learn more about national service deployments and volunteer opportunities via Twitter by searching for #sandyvolunteer.

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