Big Hearts, Busy Hands: Volunteers, National Service Members Mobilize to Help Neighbors in Need

PEARL – The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service extends its gratitude to the many volunteers who have offered their time and skills following April’s deadly storms and tornadoes. To date, MCVS has documented 5,903 volunteers serving more than 21,785 hours since Friday, April 29.

MCVS worked closely with local government and emergency management officials, community and faith-based organizations to establish Volunteer Reception Centers to manage and document volunteer response. Nine of these centers have served affected communities throughout the state since April, and their efforts have been very successful. VRCs coordinate volunteer activity in four Mississippi counties, with Webster and Chickasaw counties requiring the most assistance at this time. All other active VRCs schedule volunteer activity and ask prospective volunteers to contact their VRCs prior to travel. Please check www.mcvs.org for active VRC contact information.

Members of several national service programs funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency, are working with local officials, Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, faith-based and community organizations in affected areas of Mississippi.

“AmeriCorps NCCC teams have quickly moved into affected areas and are providing critical support to local officials and faith-based organizations, doing everything from search and recovery to deploying volunteers to work sites. We couldn’t do it without them,” said MCVS Deputy Director of Programs and Operations Brandi McNeil.

MCVS is directing monetary donations to www.MississippiRelief.com, a fund established by Governor Haley Barbour.

While MCVS has not been asked to coordinate volunteer activity for flood preparation, there may be opportunities for service in the weeks to come or after flood waters recede. The agency is developing a plan for long-term volunteer response to the rising waters, including a website where interested parties can register for flood-related volunteer opportunities.

The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service engages and supports Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities. As your state office of volunteerism, the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service administers AmeriCorps programs, supports a network of Volunteer Centers, and coordinates other initiatives fostering community engagement and building volunteer capacity throughout the state.

Contact MCVS at 888.353.1793, our website, www.mcvs.org, Facebook www.facebook.com/volunteeryall and Twitter @volunteeryall.

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