AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Respond to Southeast Severe Storms and Tornadoes

Jan 25, 2017

AmeriCorps NCCC, Senior Corps, already at work in Georgia and Mississippi

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced the first resources deployed to support the response to the severe storms and tornadoes that tore through Mississippi, Georgia, and other southern states. In total, more than three dozen AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are actively responding, with additional deployments pending and all AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams on standby.

On Wednesday, three AmeriCorps NCCC teams will put boots on the ground in Hattiesburg, Miss. to support debris removal and staff the Volunteer Reception Center. Their arrival follows a one-day blitz of debris removal efforts by 30 AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps members. In Georgia, 20 Senior Corps volunteers are supporting meal distribution and donations management at the Mt. Zion Soup Kitchen in Albany. Additional AmeriCorps members placed at local organizations may be temporarily reassigned to support disaster response activities.

“The national service family stands shoulder to shoulder with those affected by these storms in their time of need, with AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members at the ready to help their neighbors as they begin to rebuild from this disaster,” said Kelly DeGraff, senior advisor for disaster services at the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Working hand-in-hand with local partners, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are providing vital relief to affected communities. We will continue to support Georgia and Mississippi residents and families as they begin to rebuild over the long haul.

CNCS is coordinating closely with state and local authorities to monitor and assess additional resources needed within the community. In addition, the agency is working with Volunteer Mississippi and the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism, the state service commissions responsible for implementing national service programs across the state.

Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including the Flint, Mich. water emergency, 2016 Louisiana Flood, 2014 Southeast Michigan flood, Hurricane Sandy, the 2013 floods in Colorado, tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla., the explosion in West, Texas, and the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill. 

Through all its programs and initiatives, CNCS helps communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from disasters. AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers can serve in a wide range of high-level roles, including assisting with evacuation and special needs residents, supporting long-term recovery, running volunteer centers and base camps, and leading large groups of volunteers.

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