West, TX Senior Corps Volunteer Organization Awarded Nearly $200,000 for Disaster Recovery Efforts

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
May 7, 2013

WEST, TX – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) awarded a $195,000 grant to Heart of Texas RSVP today to support recovery and rebuilding efforts by residents in West, Texas, after last month’s explosion.

“The Senior Corps volunteers who serve with Heart of Texas RSVP are vital members of the West, Texas, community,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “Each of them has been personally affected by the explosion and understands the impact this disaster. The new funding will allow the community of West to leverage local volunteers and resources as part of recovery efforts.”

Spencer joined Dr. Erwin Tan, director of Senior Corps, local leaders, and representatives from the Heart of Texas RSVP program for a series of site visits and discussions with volunteers.

In the weeks following the explosion, volunteers with the organization staffed the 2-1-1 call center, food distribution headquarters, media command post, and donations management center. RSVP volunteers also resumed deliveries of meals to homebound individuals with Meals on Wheels thanks to a temporary partnership with a local grocery store.

“Heart of Texas RSVP has been very helpful to the community of West following the tragic explosion,” said Congressman Bill Flores. “Their leadership, experience and support have aided in providing relief to those affected and been a tremendous help throughout the recovery process of this disaster.”

Examples of activities supported by new funding for Heart of Texas RSVP volunteers include:

  •  RSVP volunteers will provide school year and summer education support for 450 at-risk students displaced from their schools after the explosion.
  • Volunteers will support 130 displaced residents of West Rest Haven, the only nursing facility within the city of West, and their families. RSVP volunteers will do survivor location identification and well-being check-ins as well as provide respite care and family support.
  • A long-term volunteer reception center will be created to provide a home base for local volunteer and faith-based groups, as well as a central place for those looking to get involved for the next year.

For more than 20 years, Heart of Texas RSVP, a Senior Corps program, has connected older adults to volunteer opportunities to Texas organizations. These volunteers serve the region’s largest veteran population, deliver meals, and provide low-income seniors help with taxes.

CNCS – the nation’s federal agency and largest grant-maker for service and volunteering – oversees Senior Corps. Senior Corps taps the skills, talents, and experience of more than 360,000 Americans age 55 and over to meet a wide range of community needs through three programs, the Foster Grandparent Program, RSVP, and the Senior Companion Program.

Each year, elected officials and community leaders spotlight the impact of Senior Corps during Senior Corps Week, taking place May 6-10 during Older Americans Month. The week will be marked by service projects and recognition events across the country. Already, more than 30 governors have issued proclamations for Senior Corps Week, representing broad support for the vital contribution Senior Corps makes to our communities and nation.

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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. For more information on disaster response and recovery by national service, visit the Disaster Services Unit.

 

Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 606-6775
sjwarfield@cns.gov

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