OLYMPIA – Almost 100 Washington Service Corps members in the new Washington COVID Response Corps aim to reduce the dramatic increase in food insecurity caused by the pandemic — but they need more help.

The COVID Response Corps, created by Serve Washington with support from the Schultz Family Foundation, places Service Corps members at food banks and other food-access organizations across the state.

The Response Corps still has openings for new members. New partners — non-profits and other organizations that host Service Corps members — also are needed.

Those interested should go to the Washington Service Corps website:

“So many people across the state are struggling with food insecurity and health issues,” said Washington Service Corps Director James Trujillo. “We were made to help during times of crisis and we’re proud to stand alongside our communities and help.”

The Washington Service Corps and Washington Reading Corps — both part of the federal AmeriCorps program — also are using grants totaling more than $8 million in their 2020-21 service year to:

  • Support public health initiatives to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Restore prairie, stream and coastal habitats.
  • Tutor children through virtual academic support and literacy development programming.
  • Provide support to dislocated workers and other job seekers.

The two programs dispatched about 625 members around the state this fall. Ninety-four will serve in the COVID Response Corps.

Community service continues safely in midst of pandemic

The Washington Service Corps has worked with members to adapt to the new face of community service during a pandemic.

“Through their dedicated service helping those most in need, AmeriCorps members make a substantial and tangible difference in our communities — even if it’s over a computer,” said Trujillo.

AmeriCorps members earn a modest but recently increased living allowance in return for their service. They also receive health insurance, training and an educational scholarship. Eligible members with children also can receive help with childcare.

The Corporation for National and Community Service fund AmeriCorps grants. Combined, the Washington Service Corps and Washington Reading Corps are the largest AmeriCorps grant awards in the state for the 2020-2021 program year. The state Employment Security Department administers the programs.