More than 8,500 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Members Actively Engaged in COVID-19 Emergency Response
Despite the obstacles presented by COVID-19, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs across the country have acted quickly and creatively to continue their critical work in new ways, or to pivot to meet emerging needs.
Since the start of the national emergency, more than 8,500 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers have served in direct response to COVID-19. Collectively, these national service members have:
- Assisted an estimated 1.3 million people
- Provided more than 2.4 million meals
- Collected and distributed more than 14.8 million pounds of food, and
- Conducted more than 95,000 wellness checks
They are joined in service by thousands of AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers who continue to meet the needs of their communities by virtually teaching, tutoring and mentoring students, restoring public lands, helping families remain in their homes and referring homeless individuals to supportive services, building capacity for local nonprofits, or connecting with isolated seniors.
The stories of service coming from across the country demonstrate the commitment of AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers to continue to “get things done” for the communities and residents that are counting on them. Below are a few stories that show how we continue to serve our communities in impactful ways.
Young ‘hunger fighter’ works with San Antonio Food Bank as AmeriCorps volunteer, serving the community she loves (San Antonio, Texas)
The San Antonio native is a volunteer member of AmeriCorps, a network of national service programs that address community needs across the United States. Working on the front line of the public health emergency is the latest chapter for Jones, who has lived a life of service to others. Jones graduated from Texas A&M at College Station last May with a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition. She signed on as one of the service’s 25 members on the Food Bank’s Covid-19 Response Team on April 6. Phillip Kent, director of communications and marketing at the Food Bank, said Jones and all the other AmeriCorps volunteers provided a tremendous service to the San Antonio community. “Everybody stepped up,” he said, “and nobody stepped away.”
Cedar Rapids project feeds people 'falling through the cracks' during pandemic (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Though the Matthew 25 office is temporarily closed, the Cedar Rapids organization, which focuses on empowering people through food, has remained busy over the last month through its new Pantry Pickup Project. “We have delivered over 200 free food boxes to residents in Linn County,” Bridget Williams, a Green Iowa AmeriCorps member at Matthew 25 and the project’s creator, said. Williams said she was inspired to start the program after participating in a coronavirus-related call with LAP-AID, the Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster, and hearing another member organization discuss how one of its clients couldn’t leave their home to get food and couldn’t afford grocery delivery services.
RSVP Philadelphia feeds seniors during COVID-19 crisis (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Senior community centers across Philadelphia closed their doors to the public due to COVID-19. However, dedicated volunteers at a Northeast community center are continuing to serve older adults through this health crisis. Even though the doors of Kleinlife community center in Northeast Philadelphia are closed, Tuesdays are busy. Meals are being packed up for delivery, thanks to volunteers organized by RSVP Philadelphia, a National Senior Corps program that serves adults 60 and older.
Service to the Corps and More: Duke College Advising Corps Adapts During the Pandemic (Durham, North Carolina)
Since COVID-19 forced North Carolina high schools to close in March, the 16 full-time members of the Duke College Advising Corps (Duke CAC) have, along with other Americans, faced the twin challenges of adapting to novel working conditions while also stepping up to meet urgent needs in their communities. Without access to their partner high schools, advisers had to design a whole new way to maintain their one-on-one work just as their students suddenly had to navigate a dramatically different environment in which to apply for college and financial aid. Almost two months later, advisers have met these challenges in a variety of ways with energy, intelligence and commitment.
United Way of Porter County’s Retired & Senior Volunteers step up during COVID-19 (Valparaiso, Indiana)
Among United Way of Porter County’s numerous teams of remarkable volunteers are the members of their Retired & Senior Volunteer Program, RSVP for short. The program offers people age 55 or older the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of challenges and topics throughout their communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic posing an extra risk to senior populations, you might expect RSVP members to back away from their efforts in order to stay home. Instead, membership is stronger than it has ever been. “They’ve stepped up. They say, ‘those people out there need us,’ and that’s what gets me emotional,” said Evelyn Harris, Regional Director of the United Way Retired & Senior Volunteer Program. “They put their masks on, they put their gloves on, and they keep going.”
Video of the Week:
PASS AmeriCorps members continue serving youth while schools and community centers in Wisconsin are closed due to COVID-19. Not even a pandemic can stop this dedicated team from #GettingThingsDone for the youth of America!
These are just a few examples of how AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs continue to make an impact in communities across the country. No matter the circumstances, our programs have the flexibility and our national service members have the commitment to meet the needs of Americans wherever and whenever they are needed.