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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
Friday, October 31, 2003

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

   

National Service Responds to California Fires

 

Washington D.C. — From helping evacuate families and preparing meals for firefighters, to collecting donations and caring for children who can’t return to their homes, hundreds of AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers are responding to the devastating fires that have swept across Southern California this past week.

The fire, considered to be the worst in California’s history, has already killed 20 people, destroyed 2,600 homes, cost billions in damages, and scorched more than 670,000 acres across the region. As firefighters continue to battle the blaze to the point of exhaustion, donations and volunteers are pouring in to help victims and first responders.

The outpouring of giving and volunteering has come in many forms. Volunteer firefighters have saved their neighbors homes while their own homes burned to the ground. Animal rescue groups have saved thousands of horses and other animals. Ham radio operators have assisted in emergency communication efforts. And donations have continued to pour in from corporations and individuals, at churches and football games, and through drive-by collection and the Internet.

“This is a devastating fire, and it isn’t under control yet, but everyone is doing their part,” said Kristen Haggins, director of the California office of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “It’s gratifying to see so many people pitch in, including our Senior Corps and AmeriCorps members. This is what we do — we see a problem, and roll up our sleeves and help out.”

Volunteer efforts by Senior Corps and AmeriCorps members ranged widely, including:

  • RSVP volunteers in San Bernardino County worked 12 hour shifts assisting the Phelan Sheriff in evacuation efforts. Many of these volunteers are members of the station’s search and rescue team and have worked in forest fire emergencies in the past.

  • Fifty-two members of AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps in Sacramento were deployed to San Bernadino this morning, immediately after being sworn in to begin their AmeriCorps year of service. They jumped into vans and headed south to serve full-time in mass care efforts to provide shelter, food, clothing, rent and relocation, and counseling services.

  • Seventy Foster Grandparents sponsored by Catholic Charities of San Diego are serving in local parishes and shelters to provide comfort and reassurance to needy parents and to read and play with children who are not able to return to their homes.

  • With specialized disaster relief training, six AmeriCorps members serving with the National Preparedness and Response Corps based out of Los Angeles were deployed to San Diego and other fire areas to serve as Mass Care Technicians, helping run emergency shelters for the evacuees and serving meals to firefighters. Another three were assigned as Logistics Technicians, providing orientation and training to local disaster volunteers. The National Preparedness and Response Corps is sponsored by the American Red Cross.

  • Participants in a San Diego conference aimed at promoting sustainability among national service programs donated $500 to fire victims, which was matched by the Hyatt Hotel where the conference was taking place.

  • The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism (GOSERV) has been tasked by the California Office of Emergency Services to coordinate donations and volunteers across the state and is gearing up for the next major phase of the disaster, the recovery.

For some Californians, the volunteer spirit continues to shine even in the face of a tragic loss. An RSVP volunteer who has served for 18 years at the nutrition program at the Highland Senior Center lost her home in the fire last weekend. A day after losing her home, she was right back at her volunteer station. No one who knew her was surprised.

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. The Corporation and its programs are part of USA Freedom Corps, a White House initiative to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility, and to help all Americans answer the President’s Call to Service. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.org.

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. The Corporation and its programs are part of USA Freedom Corps, a White House initiative to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility, and to help all Americans answer the President’s Call to Service. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.

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