Providing Relief – What Corps Have Done to Assist in Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts

 

Washington Conservation Corps members remove damaged household items from a flooded home

Hurricane Sandy took lives, destroyed homes and businesses, and left millions of people without power. As the storm bore down on the Northeast coast during the last days of October, Corps across the country were already mobilizing to help with the relief effort. Corpsmembers have played a significant role in helping communities in New York, New Jersey and 5 other states recover and rebuild.

Some Corps worked through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and FEMA, while others organized independent of the federal response. Some Corps worked in shelters, while others cleared debris. Some Corps travelled thousands of miles to assist in the relief efforts, while other Corps worked in their own backyards.

Find out which Corps have been involved in Sandy recovery, read about what they’ve done to help, and see pictures from the field:

Corps Involved in recovery efforts 

Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa Corpsmembers “mucking out” a home damaged by flood water

What are some of the things Corps have done?

  • Operated emergency shelters throughout New York City: managed volunteers, monitored and assisted residents, cared for children and pets, maintained the facilities
  • Cleared debris
  • Cut down damaged trees and limbs
  • “Mucking out” - removing water and water damaged items and building materials from homes and businesses affected by flooding
  • Solicited donations of food and emergency supplies from individuals and businesses not hit as hard by the storm
  • Operated distribution centers and packaged emergency supplies for Sandy victims in need of food, water, blankets, clothing, toiletries, and other necessities
  • Canvassed neighborhoods to find people in need and spread information about repair work
  • Restored parks damaged by high winds 

NYRP clearing a downed tree in New York City 


AmeriCorps NCCC/FEMA Corps members assisting with water distribution in Far Rockaway, NY.
 

Get more pictures and more information on the recovery efforts and Corpsmember experiences

Student Conservation Association (SCA) Corpsmember in New Jersey


Southwest Conservation Corps members working with FDNY


Utah Conservation Corps members surrounded by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy 


Green City Force Corpsmembers and staff serving food 


Montana Conservation Corps members organize supplies at a distribution center


New Jersey Youth Corps clearing a downed tree


 


 

 

 

 

 

Service and Conservation Corps Contributing to Relief Efforts After Hurricane Sandy


While The Corps Network is concerned and saddened by the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy throughout many areas of the East Coast, we are proud that some of our Corps are already helping to mobilize their Corpsmembers to respond and meet needs in their communities. 

In New York City, several Corps are already attempting to help improve conditions by volunteering, including the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and Green City Force. On their Facebook page, NYRP wrote: "We've been restoring parks and gardens in NYC's most underserved communities for nearly two decades - and our parks & gardens were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. But we're New Yorkers and this storm only makes us more determined to make NYC a cleaner & greener place to live. For those of us who are fortunate enough to still have our own homes and gardens intact... Sign-up to be a volunteer at www.nyrp.org/volunteer and we'll let you know when it's safe to be back in our parks. In the meantime, help our clean-up efforts at www.nyrp.org/donate."

Green City Force wrote a blog post and said "A few of us went down to the Red Hook Community Farm yesterday, and it has taken quite a hit. A lot of help is needed, and so we are making this a GCF service priority over the next few days." A Corps Staff member also spoke with staff from the Corps, and was pleased to hear that they have made contact with almost all Corpsmembers and were doing ok. Green City Force posted a photo from the farm, and seems to be in good spirits.

A Corps Network staff member also spoke to a staff member with the New Jersey Youth Corps of Camden / The Work Group, and heard that they were doing ok and seemed to escape terrible damage in their part of the state.

More Help on the Way from The Corps Network, FEMA, and AmeriCorps

Working with our partners at FEMA and the Corporation for National and Community Service, numerous other members of The Corps Network are deploying to New York City to help staff shelters. As it currently stands, 400 AmeriCorps members will deploy in the next week to help assist on projects at the shelters and beyond as needed in New York. Given the training of Corps to work independently, and their high levels of training and skill with volunteer management, they are a tremendous resource in times like these. More broadly, 877 AmeriCorps members are currently on the ground in six states, including 41 FEMACorps crews. An additional 900 members are on standby.

Several days ago Washington Conservation Corps wrote on their Facebook page that they "will deploy 40 AmeriCorps members and 8 WCC Crew Supervisors to assist the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Our teams will be travelling with tools onboard, including chainsaws and other equipment for clearing debris, placing sandbags, and tarping roofs. Corpsmembers will also be assisting in shelter operations, supply distribution, and damage assessments with FEMA staff. Food and lodging will be provided by various non-profit groups, churches and schools."

AmeriCorps St. Louis has already arrived in New York City, with many Corps scheduled to arrive over the weekend and the next few days. While the response will include AmeriCorps partners beyond The Corps Network, from our membership Washington Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (Taos), and Montana Conservation Corps are already set for departure. Several additional Corps may be mobilized as well in the coming days in addition to those members of FEMA Corps and AmeriCorps NCCC that will be assisting throughout affected areas.

Mario Colucci, a Regional Program Coordinator for Montana Conservation Corps who will be leading Montana's crew over a deployment of at least 30 days said: "This is an all hands on deck scenario and AmeriCorps members are uniquely suited to provide immediate assistance. They have a level of efficiency and skills that make them a great resource to bring stability and aid to the beleaguered people affected by Hurricane Sandy."

Colucci's thoughts about it being an "all hands on deck scenario" have been echoed by many, and we hope that our Corps will make as much of a difference as they are able.

You can follow updates from AmeriCorps on the National Service by clicking here.