AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Respond to Severe Storms in Central and Southern U.S.

May 9, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has deployed hundreds of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members in response to the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that have swept through the central and southern U.S.

Currently, more than 225 national service participants have deployed to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, and Mississippi. Five CNCS programs –AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Senior Corps RSVP – are involved in the effort. AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers are manning volunteer reception centers, leading clean-up and debris removal efforts, assessing damage, and providing client casework services. An additional 350 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members remain on standby, ready to deploy within 24 hours.

“As those affected by these storms begin to dig out and begin to rebuild, the national service family stands shoulder to shoulder in their time of need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We are inspired by the resilience of survivors and the swift and coordinated response of emergency personnel, government agencies, and nonprofit and faith-based groups whose work is helping save lives, provide shelter, and rebuild communities.  Our work is just beginning, but AmeriCorps and Senior Corps teams will continue to remain on the ground, providing vital relief and support to survivors.”

On Wednesday, President Obama toured the areas in central Arkansas affected by last week’s tornadoes and severe storms. He was joined by Sen. Mark Pryor, Rep. Tim Griffin, Gov. Mike Beebe, and Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock in surveying flood-damaged communities from the air. At a stop in a heavily affected neighborhood, the President thanked first responders and praised the community strength and spirit.

The national service response to date includes:

  • In Alabama, more than 30 RSVP Senior Corps volunteers are coordinating volunteer and donation management, assisting with debris removal, and conducting check-ins with seniors to identify needs in Athens, Ala. and Calhoun and Jacksonville counties. 44 FEMA Corps are providing logistical and disaster survivor assistance.
  • In Arkansas, five AmeriCorps members deployed from Red Cross are providing client casework services. Three teams of FEMA Corps members are supporting FEMA operations.
  • In Florida, 24 FEMA Corps members are supporting FEMA disaster survivor assistance and incident management assistance. Nine more AmeriCorps members in Pensacola are providing neighborhood assessments.
  • In Kansas, 40 AmeriCorps members are operating volunteer reception centers and supporting with client casework and debris removal.
  • In Mississippi, 55 AmeriCorps members from AmeriCorps NCCC, FEMA Corps, and Red Cross programs are assisting with clean-up and debris removal, assessments and casework, and volunteer reception center operations.

CNCS 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.

The CNCS Disaster Services Unit is working with FEMA, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), state emergency management agencies, and other organizations to identify and support additional disaster response needs. The agency is also coordinating with its state offices and governor-appointed state service commissions to identify additional resources to deploy.

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