Members Respond to Tornadoes, Floods and Oil Spill
Washington, DC—Nearly 150 AmeriCorps members are responding to natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in communities throughout the country – from the floods in Tennessee to the tornado in Mississippi and the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
“AmeriCorps has proven time and again to be a vital national resource in times of great need and crisis,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps. “Their expertise, sheer will to aid Americans in distress and ability to respond immediately make them a crucial line of defense when disaster strikes.”
AmeriCorps members have responded to every federally declared disaster since the program was established in 1994, providing vital relief services and serving as force multipliers who effectively recruit and coordinate thousands of volunteers during disasters. Members coordinate with FEMA, volunteer disaster recovery organizations, such as the American Red Cross, and state and local emergency management teams to help rebuild communities after emergency situations.
Since 2000, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members have served more than 3.4 million hours on over 1,350 disaster service projects. These full-time members, age 18-24, are housed on five regional campuses which allows for rapid deployment to assist with local needs during disasters. NCCC members are trained in first aid, CPR, firefighting, case management, and asset mapping. Since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, more than 108,000 participants in the Corporation's programs – AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America – have contributed over 7.7 million hours in the recovery and rebuilding effort. NCCC members and other service workers are still recruiting and coordinating volunteers to help strengthen communities and lives across the Gulf Coast region.
This week marks the fourth anniversary of AmeriCorps Week, a national effort to raise awareness about the impact the program has on real problems facing the nation, including disaster relief. Real stories of AmeriCorps heroes will be featured on Serve.gov this week to highlight the exceptional work of members and alumni. Click here to read accounts from the ground in Holmes County, MS from AmeriCorps St. Louis Safety Corps team members deployed to the county to help with tornado clean-up.
For more information about AmeriCorps members on the frontlines of our nation's disaster response, read the latest “Disaster Response Brief.” Americans can visit Serve.gov to register to assist relief efforts after the oil spill. Disaster-related activities this week include:
Gulf Coast Oil Spill: AmeriCorps NCCC members packed and loaded more than 4,300 pounds of food for distribution to families in St. Bernard Parish, LA, whose livelihoods depend on fishing Gulf Coast waters. The Corporation continues to work with state volunteer commissions to coordinate volunteers and target deployment of AmeriCorps members to respond to the disaster.
Mississippi: The AmeriCorps St. Louis Safety Corps has deployed members to Holmes and Choctaw counties, where they have worked more than 2,000 hours since April 24 clearing debris and assisting residents. Six NCCC teams from the Vicksburg, MS, campus are serving with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteers Service and the American Red Cross in five communities, assessing damaging, clearing debris, and aiding residents.
Tennessee: Two NCCC teams arrived in state over the weekend – one more was deployed this morning – to help respond to the recent floods. The teams are managing shelter operations for evacuated residents with the American Red Cross and clearing debris throughout the area. Community HealthCorps AmeriCorps members are providing information on resources for shelter, housing, food and financial assistance to displaced residents.
Rhode Island: An NCCC team was deployed to address long-term recovery efforts following the March floods. Serve Rhode Island, the volunteer service commission, is also joining with local organizations to assist with clean up and coordinate volunteer activities.