Michigan Community Service Commission supports flood recovery in U.P

AmeriCorps NCCC Team

To aid in the flood recovery of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the Michigan Community Service Commission has partnered with several organizations to support volunteers and service members in the field and provided additional resources for programs to aid in the recovery efforts.

The Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service, a U.S. federal government agency that engages more than five million Americans in service, to engage teams to serve in aiding disaster recovery in communities. A six-person team called the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) deployed to the Houghton area. They served from June 28 to July 6. The team aided recovery by clearing out culverts, removing debris and clearing out dirt and dried mud.
"It has been very cool to see the community coming together to help each other out,” said Zach Marks, AmeriCorps NCCC member from Northampton, Mass.

The MCSC also partnered with the Superior Watershed Partnership to support two four-person crews from the Great Lakes Conservation Corps to assist with disaster relief in Houghton and Keweenaw counties. The MCSC provided disaster support to supplement a portion of the Watershed Project’s deployment.

MCSC awarded SWP a 2018 Governor’s Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer Program for their Lake Superior Volunteer Corps, which works side-by-side with the Great Lakes Conservation Corps to allow Lake Superior visitors to add a day of environmental restoration work to their vacation itinerary. The MCSC also awarded SWP a 2017-18 AmeriCorps planning grant and has recommended the organization for funding for a 10-member AmeriCorps grant in 2018-19. If funded, the SWP AmeriCorps members will serve on conservation and recreation projects, such as treating trails and waterways, and will also be trained for natural disaster preparedness and response in Michigan.

The Together We Prepare AmeriCorps program, administered by the MCSC through the American Red Cross – Michigan Region, has deployed one AmeriCorps member, Kelsey VanEyl-Godin, to help with recovery efforts. In addition, AmeriCorps member Tyler Morrow delivered a Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle to Houghton to help with mobile feeding and clean-up kit disbursement.

MCSC disaster services supported the Michigan United Way 2-1-1 and the Upper Peninsula Commission on Area Progress, to help provide a critical piece of support to handle situational awareness in the public and acted as a switchboard for disaster recovery inquiries for the community. Nearly 1,500 disaster-related calls have been handled to-date. The United Way 2-1-1 previously supported this pivotal role during the Southern Michigan flooding of 2018, the mid-Michigan flooding of 2017, the Flint Water Crisis and Recovery and the Detroit flooding of 2014.

The MCSC also coordinated and worked through various Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Michigan State Police/Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, and other local partners to provide volunteer assistance for clean-up at residences and in support of maintaining operations of the local Volunteer Reception Center and recovery distribution center. The MCSC continues to provide technical assistance and coordination for long-term recovery in the area.

“Volunteerism and service play such a crucial role in disaster recovery,” said Michigan Community Service Commission executive director Ginna Holmes. “We are proud to support organizations that are deploying individuals and teams to be boots on the ground and helping to meet community needs.”