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AmeriCorps Sandy Relief Team Flies East Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

by CNCS Staff

This week, nearly 100 AmeriCorps members boarded planes from Sacramento, CA, to New Jersey and New York where they will help residents affected by Hurricane Sandy rebuild homes, remove debris, and manage volunteers. Southwest Airlines' decision to donate travel to these young leaders made this deployment possible.

“We believe in giving back and that is never more important than when tragedy strikes,” said Debra Benton, Director of Community Relations and Giving at Southwest Airlines. “Service is part of who we are at Southwest, and it comes from the heart. We applaud the work of AmeriCorps and are honored to support their mission.”

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, is coordinating its efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the American Red Cross, Points of Light, and state and local authorities. In addition, the agency is working with its state field offices and service commissions to deploy AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members. Thus far, 1,770 national service members have been deployed to states affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“Southwest Airlines stepped up in a big way as a corporate partner in national service,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “I have been to the areas in New Jersey and New York where these AmeriCorps members will serve. Homeowners and community leaders become emotional as they talk about what it means to have these young leaders working alongside them to rebuild and recover. As a result of Southwest Airlines' actions, more AmeriCorps members will make a difference in the lives of people affected by a devastating disaster.”

Andre Staley, a member of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), is among the 100 individuals leaving the Sacramento-based training campus for the Northeast.

“After seeing news reports of natural disasters on television, I was inspired to serve in a program that helps survivors recover and rebuild after tragedy,” said Staley. “I am proud to answer the call as a member of AmeriCorps NCCC.”

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