AmeriCorps Volunteers Leave the Woods and Fill the City’s Shelters

Monday, November 12, 2012

AmeriCorps volunteers who are staffing the city's evacuation shelters say they're getting used to living in the big city.

Tasks like keeping watch and making sure evacuees don’t wander off are a far cry from more typical AmeriCorps jobs that involve outdoor work.

"We would probably love to go pick up some trees, debris, or something like that," said Erica Behler, a member of the Colorado-based Southwest Conservation Corps stationed at Brooklyn Tech High School in Fort Greene. "But I mean if this is where they need us right now, I mean they'll put us where they need us I think."

Some of the volunteers at Brooklyn Tech said the shelter is overstaffed; others simply expressed amazement at the change in their circumstances.

“We're used to being moving for 10 hours a day, building fences, planting plants, digging holes, and we come here and it's just so much slower placed," Eric Anderson is a member of the Washington state-based Washington Conservation Corps. "We don't know what to do with all the free time and all the energy that we're used to using."

AmeriCorps members are also stationed at Park Slope Armory shelter. Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander said the shelter is still calling for volunteers to help the 280 residents there. 


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