Joplin, MO Tornado - AmeriCorps Responds

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers map showing damage of 2011 Joplin tornado

At 5:41pm on Sunday, May 22, 2011, an EF5 tornado(winds greater than 200mph) tore a path through the heart of Joplin, MO. A large swath of the city of 49,000 residents was flattened by the destructive storm, causing an estimated $1-3 billion in damages and claiming 161 lives.

Within 2 hours of the the tornado touching down, the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team was mobilized and in the process of packing out their disaster response gear. By 9:30pm that evening they were on their way to Joplin. The teams arrived in Joplin around 2:30am and got started right away preparing to receive the thousands of volunteers expected that morning as well as establishing a call center for missing persons.


Joplin, MO Tornado - One Year Later

Under the coordination of AmeriCorps St. Louis, over 200 national service members have been engaged in the response and recovery activities, which include:

  • Setting up and managing a Volunteer Reception Center at the Missouri Southern State University campus
  • Providing homeowner assistance and casework
  • Recruiting, facilitating and engaging tens of thousands of volunteers in a myriad of service opportunities
  • Serving the City of Joplin by creating databases to track volunteer registrations and hours to meet FEMA's required local match
  • Supporting the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Joplin Police Department with missing person inquiries
  • Operating donation and distribution warehouses
  • Coordinating donations in conjunction with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency
  • Support for the Missouri Humane Society

You and your crew have done an exceptional job. Thank you for not only your hard work but that of all the different AmeriCorps groups that have come to Joplin to help us in our time of need. It is through your efforts that we are more rapidly able to recover from the devastation left in the wake of the May 22nd tornado. You and your volunteers should be proud of what you have helped us accomplish in such a short period of time.

Chris Cotten Director, Joplin Parks and Recreation

AmeriCorps St. Louis Volunteer Reception Center Stats as of March 2012

•72,504 Individual Volunteers •494,146 Volunteer Hours •2176 Volunteer groups registered •2810 Homeowner Requests for Assistance •2287 Homeowner Requests Completed

Social Media:

Facebook: AmeriCorps St. Louis  Twitter: @AmeriCorpsSTL 

National Service Programs Represented in Joplin:

  • AmeriCorps St. Louis (5/22/11- present)
  • Washington Conservation Corps (5/22/11-6/5/11)
  • AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps: (5/23/11-present)
  • Iowa and Minnesota Conservation Corps (5/27/11-8/4/2011)
  • HEAL AR: Little Rock, Arkansas (5/27-5/30)
  • Grace Hill Trail Rangers of St. Louis (5/27/11-5/31/11)
  • Environmental Corps at American Youthworks-Texas (6/1/11-7/24/11)
  • Southwest Conservation Corps (6/29/11- 7/18/11)
  • Northern Arkansas Habitat for Humanity
  • Harvester’s of Kansas City, Missouri Riverways
  • AmeriCorps Alums, Missouri Clean Water, and RSVP


In December 2012, AmeriCorps St. Louis transitioned out of Joplin placing all coordinating functions back into the hands of the community. To volunteer in Joplin please contact Rebuild Joplin at (417) 623-0065.