Joplin city officials recently reported to FEMA that the city received donated resources and volunteer hours totaling $17.7 million dollars, the largest amount in Missouriís history and the largest amount ever recorded in FEMAís region seven, which includes Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. AmeriCorps members were instrumental to mobilizing this influx of volunteers and donations, which saved the city more than $17.7 million that it otherwise would been required to pay as part of its share of the reimbursement for federal disaster funds.
Led by State Representatives Bill White (R-Joplin) and Charlie Davis (R-Duquesne), the resolution commends AmeriCorps members from 20 organizations from seven states who served in Joplin in the wake of the tornado, the nationís deadliest in more than 60 years. Over the past seven months, AmeriCorps NCCC has deployed more than 200 members who have given 49,000 hours of service, gutted or mucked 725 homes, and served more than 20,000 meals.
The first AmeriCorps members arrived within hours after the tornado struck providing vital services and mobilizing more than 60,000 volunteers who have been essential to the cityís recovery. AmeriCorps members deployed to Joplin from programs based in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington.
The House resolution highlights AmeriCorpsí immediate and ongoing response to the tornado. The first members from AmeriCorps St. Louis and AmeriCorps NCCC arrived in Joplin hours after the tornado and immediately began working with local authorities to assist in search and rescue and establish a missing personís hotline.
Since then, AmeriCorps members have performed vital services including managing the volunteer reception center, providing homeowner assistance and casework, removing tons of debris, supporting the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Joplin Police Department with missing person inquiries, offering legal services, operating donation and distribution warehouses, and coordinating donations in conjunction with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.
Kate Raftery, director of AmeriCorps NCCC, joined Missouri House members, AmeriCorps members, and representatives of FEMA, the Missouri Community Service Commission, and AmeriCorps programs active in Joplin announced the agencyís commitment of more than 30 additional AmeriCorps members who will serve in Joplin over the coming year. They include:
- Eight additional full-time members serving with AmeriCorps St. Louis, the primary coordinating body of the massive volunteer response; supported through a new AmeriCorps grant from the Missouri Community Service Commission;
- 18 AmeriCorps VISTAs serving full-time for the next year in conjunction with the PAVE Eldon Schools - Joplin Schools Bright Futures program and other area non-profits, who will implement and expand programming to improve the health, academic performance and well-being of the children and their families in the Joplin area;
- AmeriCorps NCCC teams of 8-12 members each that will be deployed through July 2012 to bring hands on assistance to the ongoing recovery operations.