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CCMI responds to local community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Every year Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) engages over 430 youth and young adults across the Midwest in meaningful service, leadership development, and environmental stewardship. These Corps members help to improve access to outdoor recreation, provide habitat restorations on public lands, restore and protect water quality, and respond to natural disasters.

Our year looks very different today. But we are we are proud to honor our roots, which we trace back to the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC’s service helped rebuild our country during the Great Depression, creating a legacy that has lasted decades.

We have never lost sight of the core mission of the CCC—to support our communities during times of crisis through national service. CCMI’s trained AmeriCorps members have responded to disasters around the country, from tornadoes and floods to hurricanes and earthquakes, providing relief to thousands of Americans.

Now, we find our members being called upon to support our communities by responding to COVID-19 disaster response needs.

Our AmeriCorps members are partnering with local non-profits and coordinating with local government agencies to fight hunger by staffing food banks and preparing and delivering meals to those in need.

Iowa

Two AmeriCorps crews from our Iowa Field Crew program spent two weeks serving with the River Bend Foodbank in Davenport, Iowa helping to package food donations.

Another crew deployed for two weeks to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo, Iowa. They served side-by-side with the Iowa National Guard to ensure Iowans continue to have access to food throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Altogether, our Iowa crews collected and distributed 180,994 pounds of food.

Minnesota

AmeriCorps members from our Minnesota Field Crew and Youth Outdoors programs supported emergency food assistance efforts at Second Harvest Heartland, providing over 480 hours in support.

Crew Leader, Brandon, shared, “Second Harvest is where I could finally be impactful during this pandemic. [On our first day], the Corps members took part in orientation and immediately jumped right into action. With safety and health restrictions in place, many food shelves do not have the space nor the capacity to effectively organize their food. This is where we came in. Each of us took on roles that varied from receiving the food to sorting through it all to finally organizing a week’s long container of healthy food. The boxes were then loaded onto pallets where they would wait until their recipient picked them up the following day.”

While our connection with nature will be as important than ever in the months ahead, and our youth and young adult crews provide an important service to state and local agencies maintaining parks and public lands, ensuring safe access for the public, and responsible stewardship for recreational areas and open space, we are also committed to serving Minnesota, Iowa, and the nation during times of natural and community disasters.