AmeriCorps available to help local homeowners

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The Brigantine Beach Community Center was able to offer new assistance this week as representatives of FEMA’s AmeriCorps came to town.

Two six-person teams, one from the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) and the other from the Minnesota Conservation Corps, arrived in Brigantine to set up a Volunteer Reception Center.

Kevin Zelenak, WCC public information officer, said the teams are there to aid any homeowners with “mucking out their houses, tearing out floorboards, ripping out insulation. We can take it out or take it apart.”

The AmeriCorps troops will be at the Community Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and are accepting volunteers to assist in cleaning up Brigantine until the end of the year. Anyone interested in helping should call (609) 508-2189.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act, which established the Corporation for National and Community Service and brought the full range of domestic community service programs under the umbrella of one central organization.

This legislation built on the first National Service Act signed by President H.W. Bush in 1990. It also formally launched AmeriCorps, a network of national service programs that engage Americans in intensive service to meet the nation’s critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. The newly created AmeriCorps incorporated two existing national service programs: the longstanding VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program, created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).

Jim Tchir, a Brigantine resident, will also be heading a clean-up crew this weekend. Tchir has led cleanup teams for the past four weeks, assisting those who needed help.

Anyone who wants to help Tchir should show up at the Community Center by 9 a.m. Saturday or Sunday. Work boots and old warm clothes are recommended. If you want to volunteer, or need assistance from his team, call the Community Center at (609) 264-7350.

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