Take Pride's Mobile Volunteer Depots to Assist Hurricane-Recovery Efforts

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Take Pride in America’s Mobile Volunteer Depots to Assist Hurricane-Recovery Efforts on Florida’s Public Lands

Washington, D.C. – The Take Pride in America program will create a fleet of Mobile Volunteer Depots (MVD) to help Florida’s public lands recover from the impact of four major hurricanes in 2004. The new MVD project builds on Florida’s strong tradition of volunteerism at state parks and on other public lands. Each MVD will be loaded with shovels and rakes, trashbags and gloves, wheelbarrows, an Onan generator, and other equipment. A total of five MVDs will be stationed across Florida at key state parks, but will be available to support volunteer efforts – like cleaning up beaches, removing downed trees, rebuilding trails, and more – at local, state and federal sites.

The MVDs are the creation of the Take Pride in America Partners Council, comprised of more than 100 corporations and nonprofit organizations committed to the protection of America’s public lands. Previous Council efforts include the Take Pride in America Volunteer Guide and the collection of more than 400,000 hours of pledges from volunteers to help repair the damage caused by forest fires in Southern California.

The Partners Council’s new MVD project involves a growing number of respected organizations including NASCAR, Cummins, Featherlite, Unilever, Zodiac, Disney and ReserveAmerica. The Partners Council unveiled the MVD prototype at Honeymoon Island State Park on October 23 at a Take Pride in Florida event attended by Fran Mainella, Director of the National Park Service, Colleen Castille, Secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, and Marti Allbright, Executive Director of Take Pride in America.

“Public land volunteer coordinators face many challenges in attracting and managing volunteers,” remarked Take Pride Partners Council Chairman Derrick Crandall. “Sites in great need of volunteer assistance often lack enough equipment to fully empower their volunteers, especially at the growing number of larger volunteer events like National Public Lands Day, National Make a Difference Day, National Trails Day, and National River Clean-Up Week. It is impractical for each site to maintain a large cache of shovels, rakes, gloves, wheelbarrows, power tools, water containers, check-in tables, and more. Our MVDs will supply the equipment needed, conveniently delivered and capable of operating effectively far from permanent support structures or at sites where storms or fires have temporarily interrupted power.”

Take Pride hopes to take the MVD project to other states and regions. A multi-state series of volunteer events is already planned for the summer of 2005 in cooperation with the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. Airstream, a Take Pride in America Charter Partner, will be a key sponsor of this event. One of its motorhomes will tow a MVD to volunteer events across the West.

Take Pride in America is a national partnership that recruits, supports and recognizes volunteers who work to improve the nation’s public lands. Click Here for a listing of the Take Pride in America Charter Partners. The Take Pride Council of Charter Partners is coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition.