National Service Programs Supporting COVID-19 Response Efforts
As part of the coordinated federal response, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service, is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage state and local public health departments to consider the use of national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, as part of ongoing COVID-19 response efforts.
With more than 45,000 locations across the country, AmeriCorps programs are primed to be able to help support the efforts of CDC and state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies to expand capacity for contact tracing and other COVID-19 response needs.
Many governor-appointed state service commissions, CNCS’ state-based partners, are already actively engaged in their state’s emergency response efforts and are able to work with state and local public health departments. This effort includes the engagement of existing AmeriCorps programs and members; development of new AmeriCorps or other volunteer program models; and identification of other national service resources, including AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams, AmeriCorps NCCC, and AmeriCorps VISTA.
The majority of the agency’s 75,000 AmeriCorps members continue their critical work. Since the start of the national emergency, more than 6,725 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers have served in direct response to COVID-19, helping more than 1.2 million people. Many more AmeriCorps members have added vital community services to their regular duties or are performing their regular duties virtually. For example:
- Helping children continue to learn and grow: Teaching and tutoring children to help them stay current in their studies and continuing to act as mentors with letters, calls and video chats.
- Fighting hunger: Providing food banks and pantries with much needed help in the face of growing demand; distributing meals to students whose schools are closed; and delivering meals to isolated seniors and families at need.
- Disaster Response: Supporting contact tracing; constructing and distributing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers; staffing call centers; and managing donations at warehouses.
CNCS provides strong support, expertise, and trained and dedicated volunteers to help communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. From forest fires and floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills, participants in CNCS programs have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994.