For the next three weeks, the Palmetto Conservation Corps will work out of Conway, SC, to provide disaster relief in Horry and Marion counties following Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding.
Both counties experienced wind damage and flooding from the 12 to 18 inches of rain that fell during the hurricane. Severe flooding continued as the Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Lumber, and Waccamaw rivers crested about a week after the storm at heights not seen since the 1920s. Hundreds of homes, farms, public buildings, roads and bridges were damaged in the storm.
The Corps will work for up to three weeks in the two hard-hit counties to assist with immediate needs for disaster relief at no charge to the communities. The work will focus on debris removal and general clean-up, and may also include house muck outs, house gutting, mold remediation, potable water distribution, recovery resource guide distribution, call assistance on crisis clean-up hotlines, and assessing damage at housing sites.
Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF) launched the Corps in August as the only trail-based AmeriCorps service program for young adults in South Carolina. Most Corps training and service focuses on construction and maintenance of the Palmetto Trail, South Carolina’s premier hiking–bicycling trail that runs across the state from Awendaw in Charleston County to Walhalla in Oconee County.
In addition to trail work, a portion of Corps service is dedicated to disaster preparedness and response. Corps training for this disaster relief deployment has been in partnership with the St. Bernard Project, the South Carolina Commission on Community Service, South Carolina Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (SCVOAD), Waccamaw Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (Waccamaw VOAD), United Way Association of South Carolina, North Conway Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church of Conway.
Two members from Columbia's St. Bernard Project team will join the Corps during this deployment. First Baptist Church will provide housing, and Waccamaw VOAD will feed the crew lunch and dinner on workdays.
Background on the Palmetto Conservation Corps
The Palmetto Conservation Corps is the only trail-based AmeriCorps service program for young adults in South Carolina. Corps members’ training and service focus on construction and maintenance of the Palmetto Trail using best practices to conserve natural resources and wildlife habitats. Training also includes disaster preparedness so that Corps crews can provide rapid response, relief, and recovery from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other disasters. The Corps is a logical addition to the programs and projects of Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF).
Background: Palmetto Conservation Foundation
The mission of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF) is to conserve South Carolina's natural and cultural resources, preserve historic landmarks, and promote outdoor recreation through trails and greenways. Founded in 1989, PCF is a statewide nonprofit organization with offices in Columbia and Glendale in Spartanburg County. PCF’s best-known project is the mountains-to-sea Palmetto Trail. With about 360 Trail miles completed and another 140 planned, the Palmetto Trail is the state’s longest hiking–biking trail and largest trail construction project. Supporting Trail use is the Glendale Outdoor Leadership School, a PCF program. GOLS teaches courses in wilderness medicine (certified first aid and first responder) and active recreational sports, including rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking.
To learn more about PCF, the Palmetto Trail and GOLS, visit www.palmettoconservation.org and Facebook/palmettoconservation, or call 803-771-0870.
Background: South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service
United Way Association of South Carolina operates the South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service (Service Commission) to improve South Carolina communities through volunteerism and national service programs. The Commission promotes and increases: (1) an ethic of service and volunteerism in the state of South Carolina, (2) the capacity of faith-based and community organizations within the state to better compete for funding opportunities, and (3) the collaboration among communities and organizations that are trying to meet the greatest needs of the Palmetto State. The S.C. Service Commission receives funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service for AmeriCorps programming. UWASC’s mission is to create long-lasting opportunities to advance the common good for all in the areas of education, financial stability, and health. For more information, visit www.UWASC.org.
AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and the Volunteer Generation Fund. CNCS also leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov .
AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at more than 21,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.
Those interested in learning more about becoming an AmeriCorps Member or programs in South Carolina can visit www.uwasc.org/AmeriCorpsPrograms.
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