AmeriCorps Response to the Joplin Tornado Fact Sheet
Within hours after the nation's deadliest tornado in nearly 60 years ripped through Joplin, Missouri, killing 161 people and destroying some 7,000 homes and businesses, the first team of AmeriCorps members arrived on the scene.
In the days and months that followed the May 22, 2011, tornado, more than 350 AmeriCorps members from seven states have come to Joplin, providing vital services and coordinating more than 75,000 volunteers who have been essential to the city’s recovery. AmeriCorps members have supported missing person inquiries, removed tons of debris, provided homeowner assistance and casework, operated donation and distribution warehouses, coordinated donations, and managed a large-scale volunteer operation that has coordinated more than 75,000 volunteers and their 500,000 hours of disaster assistance to more than 2,200 Joplin households.
Joplin city officials reported that the city received donated resources and volunteer hours totaling $17.7 million, the largest amount in Missouri’s history and the largest amount ever recorded in FEMA’s region VII. AmeriCorps members were instrumental to coordinating this influx of volunteers and donations, which efficiently aided their recovery and saved the city more than $17.7 million in disaster costs.
AmeriCorps and Joplin Tornado Fast Facts
|359||AmeriCorps Members who have served in Joplin|
|76,879||Hours served by AmeriCorps Members|
|75,786||Volunteers coordinated through AmeriCorps Recovery Center|
|520,102||Volunteer hours reported by AmerCorps Recovery Center|
|2,222||Volunteer groups registered|
|2,226||Completed homeowner requests|
|6,053||Damage or needs assessments completed|
|20,000||Meals served in disaster areas|
|732||Homes mucked or gutted|
|129,479||Total volunteers (includes volunteers serving through other groups)|
|798,623||Total volunteer hours (includes volunteers serving through other groups)|
Ongoing AmeriCorps Commitment
AmeriCorps has an ongoing presence and long-term commitment to Joplin. One year after the tornado, more than 25 AmeriCorps members are still serving in Joplin, assisting with home-building and repair, offering legal services to low-income families, providing support to students in Joplin public schools, and managing volunteers, donations and homeowner requests through the AmeriCorps Recovery Center led by the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team.
Working in partnership with FEMA, the Missouri Community Service Commission, the City of Joplin, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations, AmeriCorps members will continue to provide vital services to support the long-term recovery effort.
Recognition for AmeriCorps’ Role
AmeriCorps has been widely recognized for its leadership role in Joplin. On January 31, 2012, the Missouri House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution calling the work of the AmeriCorps members “indispensable to the recovery”. In May 2012, the Partnership for Public Service announced the CNCS Disaster Services Director as a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for leading AmeriCorps response to the Joplin tornado. A March 16, 2012, Joplin Globe editorial stated “No city in America is more grateful for AmeriCorps than Joplin. No city believes more in the group’s mission. These young people have been with us since day one, and while their hours can be counted and a dollar value put on their labor, what they have given to and done for Joplin since May 22 is immeasurable…. AmeriCorps has done heroic service for Joplin.”
AmeriCorps Programs in Joplin
- AmeriCorps St. Louis
- AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian
- Community Corps)
- Eldon R-I School District/PAVE AmeriCorps
- VISTA Program
- Washington Conservation Corps
- Iowa and Minnesota Conservation Corps
- Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows
- HEAL AR AmeriCorps Little Rock, Arkansas
- Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers of St. Louis
- Environmental Corps at American Youthworks-Texas
- Rebuild Joplin/St. Bernard Project
- Southwest Conservation Corps
- Northern Arkansas Habitat for Humanity
- Harvester’s of Kansas City
- Missouri Riverways
- Missouri Community Rivers Network
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri
- Purdy R-II School District/Purdy Reading Coaches
- American Red Cross: Prevent, Prepare, Respond
- Waynesville R-6 School District/AmeriCorps
National Service and Disaster Response
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency, provides strong support, expertise, and trained and dedicated volunteers to help communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. From forest fires and floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills, participants in CNCS programs have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994. Reflecting the agency's growing expertise and commitment in disaster services, CNCS has joined with FEMA to launch FEMA Corps, a new 1,600 member unit within AmeriCorps NCCC whose members will be devoted solely to disaster response, and recovery efforts. FEMA Corps will strengthen the nation's disaster response capabilities, expand opportunities for young people, and save taxpayer dollars.
To learn more about how national service supports communities affected by disasters, or how you may work with us to make communities safer, please contact the CNCS Disaster Services Unit at DSU@cns.gov or visit our website at NationalService.gov.