Pictured Above: (1) The Comisión de Voluntariado y Servicio Comunitario de Puerto Rico and local AmeriCorps members from the Boys & Girls Club of Puerto Rico join the Center for Puerto Rico by helping hurricane-affected families. (2) Volunteer Florida and its AmeriCorps FL program Peacemakers Family Center partners with Convoy of Hope and Miami Dolphins Special Teams to host a post-Hurricane Irma food giveaway in Miami serving over 6,000 individuals in need (3) Texas Conservation Corps, funded by the Texas commission, OneStar Foundation, tarps damaged houses in Southeast Texas following Hurricane Harvey. (4) Another Texas Conservation Corps crew of AmeriCorps members deploys to Aransas Pass, TX to set up a Volunteer Reception Center, organize volunteers, help homeowners, and manage donations for the nearby Rockport and Corpus Christi response to Hurricane Harvey.
This past month, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have left a trail of destruction across the United States and its territories. State service commissions and their local AmeriCorps programs have sprung into action to help affected communities respond and recover. Working with their Governor’s and First Lady’s Offices, state emergency management agencies, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs), and the Corporation for National & Community Service’s Disaster Services Unit (CNCS DSU), these state service commissions are playing a critical role in coordinating national service and volunteer resources on the ground.
In response to Hurricane Harvey, the Texas commission OneStar Foundation has partnered with Governor Abbott’s office and national philanthropists Michael and Susan Dell to administer the new RebuildTX disaster fund, which has already raised more than $68 million to rebuild Texas communities. OneStar has also activated AmeriCorps Texas members across their portfolio virtually to answer more than 4,000 Crisis Cleanup hotline calls and deployed their local AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (ADRT) Texas Conservation Corps to place dozens of well-trained “boots on the ground” in Houston and Southeast Texas. To learn more and donate, visit RebuildTX.org.
Volunteer Louisiana, also affected by Hurricane Harvey, established a virtual volunteer reception center at VolunteerLouisiana.gov, connecting thousands of citizens with volunteer opportunities in Louisiana and Texas. Volunteer Louisiana also connected citizens with donation opportunities and staffed phone lines for all volunteer and donation inquiries.
In response to Hurricane Irma, the Florida commission Volunteer Florida and its AmeriCorps State teams have provided disaster response to more than 8,600 residents, and locally-serving Senior Corps programs have been involved in emergency food, shelter, and volunteer operations. To learn more and donate, visit volunteerflorida.org/irma.
Most recently, Puerto Rico has been devastated by Hurricane Maria. Currently the island has limited access to water and cell phone service. They are expected to be without electricity for months. The commission, Comisión de Voluntariado y Servicio Comunitario de Puerto Rico, is working with the First Lady’s Office and its local AmeriCorps programs to provide services to citizens impacted by the storm. To learn more and donate, visit unidosporpuertorico.com.
In total, CNCS has already deployed more than 1,800 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to areas impacted by these hurricanes.
Thank you to these hardworking state service commissions and national service members for their tireless dedication to help local communities recover as quickly as possible from this devastation!