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Corps members deploy to East Coast for disaster relief

On Saturday, November 3, On Saturday, November 3, 38 corps members and one staff person deployed to New York City to assist with disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast. To provide much needed transportation options, additional corps members drove seven vans out to New York a week later, for crews to use during their deployment. Corps members have been assigned to operate five emergency shelters in Queens and Brooklyn. They joined more than 900 AmeriCorps volunteers from programs around the country assisting with East Coast disaster response. The teams are running the full daily shelter operations, which includes managing volunteers, monitoring residents (including some with special needs), assisting residents with questions and needs, caring for children and pets, receiving and distributing donated goods and monitoring facilities to ensure residents’ security. Many members work 12-hour overnight shifts and are expected to remain for at least 30 days, with changing assignments.

Since that first deployment, another team of 12 corps members deployed to Ocean County and Atlantic City, where they have been mucking out houses full of debris, mud and mold, they are managing the seemingly infinite and ever-changing logistics of thousands of volunteers from across the country. Many will remain, away from friends and family, throughout the holidays. On December 18, a third team of 12 will depart for a 30-day deployment and a fourth team will head out in early January.

Deployment is made possible through collaboration between the Conservation Corps, the Corporation for National & Community Service Disaster Services Unit, FEMA and the State of New York. Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa is among eight corps throughout the country that specializes and trains members in disaster response. The Corps has a collaborative agreement with the Disaster Services Unit, allowing for the assignment of AmeriCorps members to disaster response.