FEMA Gives Back to Communities Before, During and After Disasters

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National Volunteer Week is April 21-27, and serves as an excellent reminder to honor the contributions of volunteers across the country. Volunteers contribute to their communities in various ways, dedicating their time, skills and resources to numerous causes and organizations. They are also key partners to response and recovery efforts after a disaster. 

FEMA employees continuously help make our nation more prepared for disasters, and they also give back to their communities outside of their day jobs. From serving the disenfranchised to honoring our veterans, FEMA staff truly live up to the agency’s mission of helping people. 

In 2024 alone, a total of 924 employees volunteered across the country, equating to more than 3,600 hours in community service. 

When FEMA employees serve, they demonstrate their dedication to the health and wellbeing of Americans. Their actions demonstrate that anyone, regardless of their position or title, can make a difference. 

Read below to find more ways that FEMA employees live up to our agency core values of compassion, fairness, integrity and respect. 

FEMA Administrator Criswell and Deputy Administrator Hooks Volunteered at a Food Bank

Administrator Criswell, Deputy Administrator Hooks and staff.

On March 26, FEMA Administrator Criswell and Deputy Administrator Hooks helped community members in Washington D.C. by bagging fresh produce, stocking shelves and assisting with food delivery services. The Administrator believes it is critical to give back to our communities. Volunteering with local organizations is a great way to establish these connections and work together to uplift those around us. 

FEMA Disability Integration and Coordination Director Sherman Gillums Jr. Demonstrated How Tornadoes Form

Disability Integration and Coordination Director Gillums

FEMA Disability Coordinator Sherman Gillums Jr. with his son demonstrating how tornados are formed for fifth-grade students at a school in McLean, Virginia.

FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness Staff Clean-up the Freedom Riders National Monument 

Volunteers around the Freedom Rider monument

On March 7, staff from the agency’s Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama, volunteered at The Freedom Rider National Monument. The team cleaned up litter from the site for when the national park will undergo groundwork on the site to mark the location of the Anniston Bus Burning. 


FEMA Region 7 Employees Dedicated Time to Serving Veterans

Group of volunteers serve the veterans community project.

18 staff members volunteered their time to a non-profit dedicated to providing strategic services that enable veterans to meet the challenges of day-to-day living and move towards more permanent stability. The group of volunteers said they enjoyed the opportunity to give back to an organization that is located only a few miles from the FEMA Region 7 office.

Volunteers serve at the veterans community project.

Volunteer activities revolved around supporting the organization’s veteran outreach services. They worked in the commissary space helping to process, organize and inventory the donations. 


Headquarters Staff Helped Survivors of Domestic Violence 

FEMA volunteers serve domestic violence survivors.

The risk management and compliance team within FEMA’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer volunteered time at a nonprofit dedicated to serving survivors of domestic violence. 


Region 3 Office of the Regional Administrator Took Time to Prepare Meals for Those in Need 

Volunteers serve at a food bank.

The Office of the Region 3 Regional Administrator Team, including Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney and Deputy Regional Administrator Janice Barlow, took the opportunity to pack food for a local organization that provides medically tailored meals to members of the community. 

The team worked alongside several other volunteers to prepare, cook and deliver nutritious, medically appropriate meals to their community. They prepared fresh vegetables, worked together to package full meals and assembled sandwiches. It was an excellent opportunity not only to give back to the community, but to take time to consciously connect and team-build. 

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