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Matsui Leads Letter to Support National Service During the COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), co-chair of the National Service Caucus, mounted a bipartisan effort to address the needs of our national service members volunteering through programs like AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps. The effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable communities will in large part depend on the work of first responders and members of our national service programs. Congress must do its part to provide the tools necessary to these brave volunteers who are on the front lines fighting this crisis. She is joined by Rep. Chrissy Houlihan (D-PA), Rep. David Price (D-NC) fellow co-chair of the National Service Caucus, as well as Reps. Mike Waltz (R-FL) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

“AmeriCorps volunteers symbolize a helping hand to their communities in times of need,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “As this pandemic continues to grow throughout our country and worldwide, we must not forget the countless hours that these volunteers have served teaching our children, helping our most vulnerable families, and working side-by-side with FEMA to provide disaster relief. We must stand with these dedicated volunteers and ensure they get the assistance and resources to continue serving our communities.”

“As someone who served in both the Air Force and with Teach for America, I know how crucial national service is during a time of crisis and in the days following a crisis,” said Rep. Houlahan. “National service members have been in schools to help build a better future for our nation’s youth. They’ve aided our older family and community members. They have been on the ground to provide disaster relief to those most in need. During this pandemic, our national service members need us to step up to the plate for them as they have countless times for us. I’m leading a group of bipartisan members to make sure these volunteers are protected and can continue their critical service at a time we need them most.”

“America is resilient because of the community members who step up in times of need to help their neighbors,” said Rep. Price. “That’s especially true for the hundreds of thousands of members of national service organizations like AmeriCorps and Senior Corps who fulfill vital roles in our communities such as education, and resource assistance. COVID-19 presents challenges in every walk of life, and my colleagues and I requested that in the next relief package, Congress cut the red tape and support CNCS members so they can continue helping our communities in this time of need.” 

“National service programs like AmeriCorps and Senior Corps play a pivotal role in providing critical services to communities in need, and those who serve in these programs will be on the ground supporting communities as they grapple with and recover from the public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Jayapal. “In my district, City Year service members serving in Seattle Public Schools may not be able to complete their service hours due to public school closures, and their post-service benefits should not suffer due to circumstances outside their control. While we are facing a public health emergency we must do all we can to give these programs the flexibility they need to meet the needs of these communities.”

“AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are poised to play an essential role in helping communities respond to and rebuild from COVID-19,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “They represent the very best of the American spirit of service and sacrifice and they need and deserve relief from legislative provisions that currently would deny them their earned benefits. The nonprofit organizations that deploy AmeriCorps and Senior Corps need relief measures to ensure that they can continue to provide this essential stream of human capital that will be critical to communities’ ability to recover from this unprecedented situation. We hope that Congress will do their part to ensure that AmeriCorps and Senior Corps are protected and positioned to help our nation respond to and recover from COVID-19.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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