NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Local volunteers are set to get federal funds to make sure New Mexicans stay safe and healthy. The state’s Department of Health will administer $750,000 to focus on community emergency preparedness and health.

In New Mexico – and across the U.S. – volunteers within the Medical Reserve Corps are on standby to help whenever disaster strikes. The reserves were set up in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and now continue to help with things like natural disaster recovery, vaccination clinics, and other public safety measures.

Now, $50 million in American Rescue Plan funding is headed to communities across the nation. New Mexico’s share will go towards expanding volunteer services to rural areas and Native American communities. Funds will also go towards more training and emergency response equipment, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“MRC [Medical Reserve Corps] units are a force multiplier for local emergency responses,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Dawn O’Connell, said in a press release. The funds “will bolster response efforts in communities across the nation, building on the invaluable role that the MRC played during our fight against COVID-19.”

Nationwide, there are around 300,000 volunteers serving in the Medical Reserve Corps. If you’re interested in joining, you can learn more on this website.