Columbia for Joplin limited to 700 volunteers

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | 7:50 p.m. CDT; updated 11:36 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 24, 2011

COLUMBIA — Online reservations for a day of volunteering in Joplin on Saturday will be capped at 700 people, Columbia for Joplin event coordinator Neil Riley said.

Riley said online registration would be limited to provide adequate quantities of food, beverages and T-shirts for volunteers. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 687 registrants, he said. 

Volunteers will meet at The Crossing, 3615 Southland Drive, at 4 a.m. to load onto buses or carpool to Joplin.

“We have seven buses that hold 56 people each, so that’s around 400 people we can transport,“ Riley said.

Others who plan to meet the group in Joplin can check in from 7 to 8 a.m. in the lower level parking lot of Missouri Southern State University, Quinn Gardner, operations coordinator for AmeriCorps St. Louis, said.

Gardner said her 11-person team will supervise groups of people who will work in the city from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on various tasks, including:

  • Sorting and organizing warehouses,
  • Talking to people on the phone and doing data-entry,
  • Handling volunteer logistics,
  • Large and small debris removal,
  • Going door-to-door in neighborhoods, and
  • Offering homeowners assistance with large and small projects.

The AmeriCorps team in Joplin is “looking forward to the wide impact the group from Columbia will have on the city,” Gardner said. “It’s nice to know that we’re not forgotten.”

Riley said he hopes the experience will give volunteers a structured outlet that will encourage continued involvement in the recovery and rebuilding efforts in Joplin. 

“Our goal is that people will connect with people and hopefully go back,” Riley said. “Maybe they’ll go back in the fall to help plant trees. It’s definitely a people to people thing.”

There are no firm plans for a follow-up volunteer day at this time, Riley said.

“We’re just focusing on Saturday’s event and trying to make it successful,” Riley said.


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