As the events of Hurricane Irene unfolded over the weekend and early this week, HandsOn Network, Points of Light Institute’s volunteer activation division, has been working to support on-the-ground mobilization of volunteer responders who will play a significant role in storm recovery and rebuilding.
Kellie Bentz, our director of disaster services, has been working as a partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support local efforts by our affiliates and partners on the eastern seaboard. While at FEMA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, Kellie received briefings from President Barack Obama, the governors of each state and FEMA leadership, as well as information regarding specific post-storm needs our affiliates may be able to support.
HandsOn Network is working with affiliates and partners in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. We are monitoring the situation in these and other areas as flooding, wind damage, tornadoes, dam breaches and massive power outages are assessed.
Please continue to visit our website for updates related to this disaster, including opportunities to serve. Many of our affiliates are currently registering volunteer interest. Once the storm is passed, we will evaluate needs and begin to deploy volunteers.
Register your interest to volunteer at the following Volunteer Center websites:
- Massachusetts: Boston Cares: www.bostoncares.org
- North Carolina: Cape Fear Volunteer Center: http://capefearvolunteercenter.org/article.php/20110825151708265
- New Jersey: Jersey Cares: www.jerseycares.org; United Way of Atlantic County: http://unitedwayac.org/Hurricane_Irene.php
- New York: New York Cares: www.newyorkcares.org; Long Island Volunteer Center: http://www.1-800-volunteer.org/1800Vol/long-island-volunteer-center/vcindex.do
- Pennsylvania: Voluntary Action Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania: [email protected]cnepa.org
- Rhode Island: Serve Rhode Island: http://www.serverhodeisland.org/
- Virginia: Volunteer Center of the Virginia Peninsula: www.volunteerpeninsula.org
Please be reminded, as with all disasters, please do not self-deploy to the region impacted by the disaster. Please wait until volunteer assistance is requested.
Volunteers play an important role in rebuilding communities affected by disasters like Hurricane Irene. These selfless individuals leave their homes, roll up their sleeves and help others get back to normal. This spirit of compassion and generosity can not only restore homes, schools and businesses, but also catalyze new forms of community engagement, helping people take their community’s problems and challenges into their own hands and create solutions.
For additional information on how to be prepared for emergency situations like Hurricane Irene visit the Good & Ready website to learn how to create family emergency plans, build emergency preparedness kits and get trained with an emergency response organization.