Why I fight to preserve AmeriCorps funding


The recently proposed “America First” budget proposal would, among other horrors, completely defund the Corporation for National and Community Service, which includes AmeriCorps. I know there are a lot of scary cuts in this proposal, but from my perspective there is none as damaging and illogical as defunding AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps members, over the years, serving at Hunger Intervention Program

There is ample news coverage that breaks down how economically beneficial AmeriCorps is. Here, the story I want to focus on is my own. I am an AmeriCorps alumni who has served two year-long terms. In my first year I served at Earth Action, an Erie, Pennsylvania non-profit. My work made it possible for more underserved youth to learn to engage in environmental service projects that directly benefited the community. These youth were empowered to build rain gardens, reduce toxic runoff into Lake Erie, and grow their own food, for the first time in their lives. During my second term I served here, at Hunger Intervention Program (HIP). I was cooking and serving nutritious meals to North Seattle’s low-income children, seniors, and the homeless. I was HIP’s first AmeriCorps member and, in 10 ½ months, was able to double the number of monthly meals served!

After my AmeriCorps term at HIP, I was hired on as a permanent staff member. Now I have the pleasure of working alongside our three, talented and indefatigable, AmeriCorps members who run ever-growing programs that makes a huge impact on our community. HIP is not a large non-profit, and if we lose our AmeriCorps members, it would be no exaggeration to say that it would cripple our organization.

I believe in AmeriCorps so deeply, that I want people to hear my story, and the story of others who have served. AmeriCorps changed my life for the better, kick-started my career in service, and is the reason I am here to write this blog! To gut this program, is to gut Hunger Intervention Program.

Darcy

 

Darcy Buendia
Meal Program Manager

 

Moved by this story? Ready to act?
Let your legislators know that, for this reason and so many more, the proposed budget is completely unacceptable. You can also support national service programs, by taking action through Voices for Service or The Service Year Alliance.

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