February 25, 2020

Kilmer Meets with Local Service Volunteers, Vows to Fight Proposed Administration Cuts

Tacoma, WA – On Friday, Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) met with local volunteers for national service programs in the Puget Sound region, including EarthCorps and SeniorCorps. The servicemembers in the two programs make up part of the 6,400 Americans of all ages and backgrounds who participated in national service programs in Washington last year. National service participants served at more than 1,100 locations across Washington, including food banks, homeless shelters, health clinics, youth centers, veterans’ facilities, and other nonprofit organizations.

The visits were made amid news that for the fourth year in a row, President Trump’s annual budget proposes eliminating funding for the Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps and national service programs.  These programs aim to strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Last year, CNCS invested more than $31.3 million in Washington to support community programs, working with local partners to create opportunities for Washingtonians to serve their communities.

“The men and women lending a hand in our communities through AmeriCorps and national service programs have made our region stronger,” said Rep. Kilmer. “Every day, they make positive changes in our neighborhoods and in the lives of others. Cleaning up our parks, caring for our earth, serving as tutors to young people, and helping seniors maintain their independence – these are just some of the many things that happen because of these participants. I’ll continue to fight against proposals that undermine their impact.”

“AmeriCorps provides a critical opportunity for young adults to develop as leaders, launch their careers, and become productive citizens,” said Steve Dubiel, the Executive Director of EarthCorps. “As I look across the public, nonprofit, and private sector, I frequently learn that people credit AmeriCorps with helping to focus and launch their careers.”

“At Southeast Nourish Food Bank, we appreciated the opportunity to discuss with Rep. Kilmer our need for continued service program funding,” said Steven Curry, Southeast Tacoma Food Bank Manager. “My AmeriCorps intern commented after meeting the Congressman that Rep. Kilmer was ‘especially authentic and made him feel important.’ I would concur, his interest in meeting with our senior volunteers and discussing their work was inspiring to all of them and left the environment buzzing with positivity.”

Rep. Kilmer visited EarthCorps members at the Tahoma Salt Marsh site, a wetland along the Ruston Way shoreline. Completed in 2004, this project through the City of Tacoma helped establish a salt marsh and mudflat to provide nesting, refuge and feeding opportunities for a variety of fish and birds. Almost two acres were excavated to restore ecologic integrity and salmon habitat in the area, and a channel was dug in order to let water move more naturally, making it a unique site to visit. EarthCorps, based in the Puget Sound region, brings together young adults from the U.S. and countries around the world for a yearlong leadership training program to lead community volunteers and execute technical restoration projects along shorelines, trails, and in forests.

Rep. Kilmer also visited the Southeast Tacoma Nourish Pierce County Food Bank, part of the Nourish Pierce County food bank network which served over 66,000 people in 2019. Seniors through the SeniorCorps program volunteer at Nourish at the Southeast Tacoma location to help provide nutritious food and support services to people in need.

Last year in Washington, more than 4,300 Washington seniors age 55 and over volunteered their skills and experience to help meet community challenges through SeniorCorps – and served as one-on-one tutors and mentors to young people with exceptional needs, helped homebound seniors maintain independence primarily in their own homes, and volunteered to conduct safety patrols, protect the environment, feed their neighbors, respond to natural disasters, and provide other services. In that time, these senior volunteers tutored and mentored 160 young people, helped 550 seniors live independently, and strengthened the impact of 310 organizations across the state.