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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

CONTACT: Sandy Scott
Phone: 202-606-6724
Email: [email protected]

   

National Service Volunteers Step Up Hurricane Katrina Relief and Recovery Effort

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – From volunteer pilots reuniting families across the Gulf Coast region to AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers staffing emergency shelters for evacuees and distributing donated goods, national service programs and volunteers are on the front lines of the nationwide effort to provide vital assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“The response to this devastating storm will be the largest volunteer mobilization in our nation’s history, and national service will play a critical role in leading and coordinating that mobilization,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Drawing on our experience last year in Florida, when our state commissions took the lead in organizing the volunteer response to the series of hurricanes that hit that state, we are actively mobilizing our volunteers to meet immense short- and long-term needs in housing, victim assistance, health care, and the environment.”

For example, one Corporation grantee, Mercy Medical Airlift, has been mobilizing its volunteer pilots around the clock to move high-risk people to safe ground and to fly emergency workers, agency staff, volunteers, and supplies into flood-ravaged areas. As the first responder needs have diminished, the organization has focused a greater share of its 500-plus missions a week on reuniting families who were separated during the evacuation, and relocating families out of shelters to confirmed housing elsewhere in the country.

“The relationships we established in the aftermath of 9/11 with other disaster response organizations through the creation of the Homeland Security Emergency Air Transportation System, funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, are helping us all respond as quickly and safely as possible,” said Ken Rusnak, who heads up the volunteer pilot organization. The Corporation, which has funded the program for three years, recently announced a supplemental grant of $134,000 to assist with the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile, hundreds of participants serving through the Corporation’s AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs – as well as Corporation staff and resources in Gulf Coast and neighboring states – are coordinating with state service commissions, government agencies, and charitable organizations to get help where it is needed. In the hardest hit states, activities include:

Louisiana

  • 42 AmeriCorps*NCCC member are supporting mass care activities at various locations in Louisiana through the American Red Cross.
  • AmeriCorps members with Habitat for Humanity in Baton Rouge are collecting supplies for the relief efforts and bringing needed items to shelters.
  • AmeriCorps members with the Louisiana Delta Service Corps are working in local shelters in the Delta region.

Alabama:

  • RSVP volunteers in Talledega, Lauderdale, Marshall, Greene, and other counties are providing a wide variety of services, including delivering supplies to Mississippi and Louisiana, serving meals to evacuees, helping out at elementary schools, and operating a center that distributes clothing, personal items, and water to evacuees.
  • A 10-member AmeriCorps NCCC team is in Montgomery, providing support at a call center and a supply warehouse, while three St Louis AmeriCorps Emergency Response Team members and two NCCC members are distributing clothing and food in Mobile.
  • The National Alliance of Vietnamese American Social Agencies, a Next Generation Grant recipient, is providing translation services in Bayou LaBatre, a severely impacted fishing community near Mobile with a large Vietnamese population.

Mississippi

  • The Corporation State Office is helping recruit volunteers to support the Emergency Call Center, which is being managed by the Mississippi Commission.
  • Nearly 50 AmeriCorps NCCC members are in Biloxi, Pascagoula and Jackson, supporting shelters, distributing water and other necessities, and assisting at the FEMA call center.
  • In addition, Corporation programs, grantees, and resources in 24 other states are actively involved in evacuee support, lending a hand where needed. (For a detailed accounting of activities, go to http://www.nationalservice.gov/ and click the “National Service Responds to Hurricane Katrina” button.)

Although many Corporation programs operating in the storm-affected area have been forced to curtail their operations, new guidelines have been issued to enable them to serve in other capacities related to the relief effort.

“We are mobilizing all of our resources, and amending our policies where necessary, to have the flexibility and means to deal with this great natural disaster and its aftermath,” said Corporation COO Elizabeth Seale. “Meeting the great needs of those in the affected region, as well as those who were scattered throughout the country and are trying to reconstruct their lives, gets to the core of what our programs do. For us, Katrina is mission central, and we are ramping up our efforts to provide maximum support.

Corporation programs have a long history of involvement public safety, public health, and emergency preparedness and response, including longstanding partnerships with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and other agencies. The Corporation became a signatory to the National Response Plan in 2005, making it part of the official Federal plan to protect our nation from natural and manmade hazards and attacks.

The Corporation for National and Community Service provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through three programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. Together with USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov/.

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