National Service and Hurricane Sandy: Six Months Later
Six months ago, Hurricane Sandy struck communities all along the East Coast.
In the aftermath of this devastating super storm, AmeriCorps and national service members trained in disaster response are proving to be a valuable and cost-efficient resource for America as they help victims and survivors begin to rebuild their lives.
As the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, we are coordinating the long-term recovery with the Federal Management Agency (FEMA), National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the American Red Cross, Points of Light, and state and local authorities.
We also serve on the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Task Force, chaired by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan.
By forming these relationships, AmeriCorps and national service are able to expand the capacity of emergency and community programs that make a difference when disasters happen.
Under the leadership of our Disaster Services Unit, more than 3,600 AmeriCorps members from programs across the nation participated in the federal response in six states affected by Hurricane Sandy, including the first class of AmeriCorps NCCC members serving with FEMA Corps.
The impact of our work is clear:
AmeriCorps members have mucked and gutted more than 3,700 homes, including 1,443 in New Jersey and 1,958 in New York.
National service members also have leveraged the help of 30,000 volunteers, collaborated with the American Red Cross in operating 45 shelters, and coordinated with more than 200 nonprofits and community-based organizations.
In New York alone, they mobilized 16,000 volunteers in New York for 128,000 hours of service, valued at $2.68 million.
Although the work is far from done, we put together a select list of videos and photos that tell the story of the national service community's response to Hurricane Sandy.
Whenever and wherever disasters strike, destruction and confusion trail in their wake. AmeriCorps and national service members trained in disaster response are proving to be a valuable and cost-efficient resource for America as they help victims and survivors begin to rebuild their lives.
The Corporation for National and Community Service wrapped up AmeriCorps Week with a day of service in Rockaway, NY. This event honored the effort of relief workers so far, and highlighted the work that still needs to be done.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently, including a new initiative to place AmeriCorps members in underperforming schools across the nation.
Disasters like Hurricane Sandy not only cause physical damage, but they can leave confusion and anger in their wake for weeks and months. So it must have surprised FEMA Corps Team Leader Cassie Murray to be declared “an angel” only a few hours after she was angrily confronted by one of the storm’s survivors.
The chance to get in on the ground floor and build something new attracted recent college grad Ben Barron to the FEMA Corps AmeriCorps NCCC unit. Last fall his class went to work with the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery effort in New York, where he learned a lot about himself and the strength of the human spirit.
We continue to track news coverage of the role national service participants have played in the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery effort for the last few months. This week, our collection of stories includes one about two AmeriCorps members who spent their holiday away from home, helping people in New York and New Jersey recover from the storm.
We’ve been tracking news coverage of the role our national service participants have played in the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery effort for the last few months. Here are some of the latest stories, including two personal reflections by AmeriCorps members.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to live a different experience than most. My parents were treasure hunters and I spent a majority of my childhood on their boat traveling in the Bahamas. Looking back, I almost feel as if I took those years a bit for granted; I never would have thought that the very boat I grew up on would be lifted and dropped in someone else’s yard. But when Hurricane George came through in 1998, that’s what happened. Little did I know, 14 years later, I would be on the other side of disaster recovery.
The Hurricane Sandy recovery continues with more than 1,660 national service participants deployed in response to the storm and 715 currently serving on the ground and working with the storm’s victims. At this time 407 members of FEMA Corps, an AmeriCorps NCCC unit, have deployed or are being re-routed to New York and New Jersey to support FEMA Emergency Response operations in those areas.
Even though there are plenty of distractions around the holiday season, let’s not forget the victims of Hurricane Sandy who are still reassembling their lives in the storm’s aftermath. The Corporation for National and Community Service joins other federal and national agencies in the recovery effort with a commitment that’s used by our Disaster Services Unit: “You can count on us to respond fast and stay last.”
Did you know that some of the programs under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) banner have been in existence for nearly 50 years? We’ve created a new national service timeline to show how we got to where we are today.
As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, more stories are starting to come in about our national service members' experiences in the field. Whether they traveled across the country to affected areas or collected much-needed items far from the storm's path, their work continues to inspire.
Last week, I led a delegation to New York and New Jersey to visit sites providing disaster assistance to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Throughout the day, we were joined by local elected officials who are working hard to meet the needs of their communities. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, New Jersey Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and New York City Councilman Brad Lander each joined us for a portion of the day.
President Obama visited with members of FEMA Corps, a unit of AmeriCorps NCCC, during his November 15 trip to survey the Hurricane Sandy damage in Staten Island, NY. A small contingent of the 428 FEMA Corps members currently serving in New York and New Jersey met the President at a Staten Island Disaster Recovery Center as the scene was broadcast across the nation.
The work continues on the Hurricane Sandy recovery front in New York, New Jersey, and across the Northeast as approximately 1,200 national service members have been deployed in response to the storm. Read on to see some of the stories about service and volunteerism in the superstorm’s wake.
Today's Wordless Wednesday focuses on national service in action as members and volunteers from the Corporation for National and Community Service programs join others working on the Hurricane Sandy recovery.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced that approximately 936 national service members have been deployed to seven states affected by Hurricane Sandy, with 855 additional individuals on standby for assignments in the hardest-hit areas.
As the recovery efforts for Hurricane Sandy continue, the Corporation for National and Community Service will publish a digest of news items that underscore the response of national service participants across the nation. Visit this page regularly to see the latest updates.
When it comes to massive storms like Hurricane Sandy, many dangers remain long after the weather event has dissipated. Some areas far from the front lines of the devastation won’t make headlines but will continue to feel the storm’s effects for some time to come.
The devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy is still being assessed, but there are several ways you can help those affected by storm. The information below is compiled from FEMA. We will update this post with the most up-to-date and location-specific information as it becomes available. Be sure to check back regularly.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. While the worst of the weather is beyond some areas on the East Coast, Sandy remains a very large storm system that continues to pose life-threatening hazards for coastal and inland areas including high winds, heavy rains, dangerous storm surge and flash flooding, and snow and cold weather hazards in some areas.
As of Friday, November 2, 877 national service members are in affected states, with an additional 900 more on standby for assignments. These members include AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and 41 of 42 FEMA Corps teams.
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to meet the second group of the inaugural class of FEMA Corps during their induction ceremony in Vinton, Iowa. Soon, this group will join their fellow FEMA Corps inductees in regional offices and joint field offices around the country. Similar to the induction ceremony in Vicksburg, I couldn’t help but come away from this ceremony energized, knowing this group of young people is sharply focused on making a difference in their world – particularly in the lives of disaster survivors.
On May 22, 2011, an EF-5 tornado struck my hometown of Joplin, Missouri. Nearly every resident was affected. The tornado destroyed approximately 18,000 vehicles, 7,000 homes, 5,000 businesses, and took the lives of 162 people, including two of my high school classmates.
Today marks a historic chapter in the field of disaster services at the Corporation for National and Community Service as the nation's first 240 FEMA Corps members were sworn into service at an induction ceremony in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Hurricane Katrina taught us a difficult lesson about the damage, death, and destruction a massive storm can cause. If there’s one thing we should take from that experience it is that these weather systems are not something to underestimate; you have to be prepared for the worst – especially if you live in storm-prone areas.
There’s a saying that goes, “be ready, so you don’t have to get ready.” Every family and workplace needs to have a plan of action to keep everyone safe when the unexpected happens. Sounds like the perfect excuse to discuss National Preparedness Month.