Many volunteer coordination centers we have been working with are in a transition phase of either shutting down, re-focusing their efforts, or transferring administration to other locations. Several places that I have spoken to are using this week to evaluate where their upcoming needs are due to the overwhelming nature of the storms and volunteer and donation response. This has made getting new or updated information a little hard to come by in the early part of this week.
In the coming days and weeks, you'll begin to see opportunities to serve focus more on long-term recovery. Warehouses and donation centers will continue to need support and opportunities for repair and rebuilding will come about. This is all part of what can be a very long process of recovery.
A word about the process of recovery
We are now beginning to move into the second and third stages of disaster response in our area and in the state. As a result, we will begin to see more long-term needs being identified and the importance of sustaining volunteer and recovery efforts for months, and even years to come.
One of the ways to describe how long recovery takes is based on looking at how long the first stage, or "emergency phase" lasts. This is the period right after the disaster that consists of evacuation, emergency services, medical care, rescue efforts, and utility repair. Persons needed to respond are those with specific skills, certification, and official clearance.
The relief stage consists of damage assessment, debris removal, securing and making homes habitable (if possible), and providing caring ministries. As a general rule, this stage lasts 10 times longer than the emergency stage. Persons generally needed are skilled, self-sufficient response teams and individuals equipped to do things such as tarping, tree removal from homes, and "mucking" in the case of flooding.
Finally, the recovery stage lasts 10 times longer than the relief stage, where things begin to be put back to "normal," homes are repaired, and long-term needs are addressed. To think about recent examples, the anticipated time of recovery for Hurricane Andrew is 10 years and recovery from Hurricane Katrina is expected to take close to 15 years. All sorts of skills and levels of experience are needed to help accomplish this task.
One of the complicating factors of what we are facing in the state is that because this disaster was so widespread and had such varying levels of destruction, different parts of the state and even cities are recovering at different rates. This is why you may see work teams able to perform certain work in some areas but not in others.
All of this highlights the need for patience, perseverance, and prayers. We are all going to be looking at recovery for a long time in Alabama and the southeast and it will take the resilience of us all to help make restoration and recovery possible.
Below you will find opportunities of how you can continue to serve. As many organizations are beginning to move into this second and even third stage of recovery, you will begin to see more things in the future related to repair and rebuilding and needs requiring skilled or semi-skilled labor. If this is not part of your skill set, please bear in mind that there are many other critical support needs and tasks complementary to the skilled work that will be going on. We are all needed.
Trinity Caring Team of Listeners
Thursday, May 12th, 6:30 p.m.
Trinity UMC Room 264
Led by Dr. David Barnhart.
The focus will be on listening and providing care for people who have PTS/PTSD from the tornadoes, the aftermath and from helping. It will be for caregivers to know what to look for so they can know how and when to refer persons to seek other counseling. This will provide basic training for those who want to be on a caring team of listeners as part of the Trinity UMC Disaster Relief Team. Use this link to register and find more details.
- Good Shepherd UMC - (1418 Old Railroad Bed Road, Madison, AL) Good Shepherd will be organizing volunteers for debris removal only on Saturdays now. Work begins at 8:00 AM. Please wear appropriate clothing (closed toe shoes, long pants, gloves) and bring applicable tools (crowbars, sledgehammers, chainsaws, bolt cutters, etc.)
- Disaster Response Warehouse in Decatur - (2342 Breckenridge Avenue, Building F, Decatur, AL) the warehouse receives, assembles, ships, and manages emergency response supplies for north Alabama. Currently, they're open Monday through Saturday 7AM-11PM (though hours may change). This is where flood buckets, health kits and other supplies are stored and then sent out not just to respond to the storms in Alabama, but current disasters in the US and worldwide.
- Manna House - Manna House is distributing food and basic needs daily. They are also in need of having their supplies replenished. Located behind The Rock.
- Christmas Charities - (2840 Jordan Lane, Huntsville, AL) - Christmas Charities distributes clothing and provides some basic home supplies in addition to their Christmas toy program. They are in need of help sorting through donations and restocking their store. Go to http://christmascharitiesyearround.org/ for more information.
- Salvation Army - is in need of help sorting through donations at their warehouse. They are located at 2112 Oakwood Avenue.
- Disaster Response Call Center, Birmingham - This call center will field phone calls for the North Alabama Conference tornado disaster response. The Conference is currently looking for volunteers to work in the call center. Each volunteer will go through a brief training when s/he shows up for her/his first shift. Use this link to sign up and find more details.
The only active collection at Trinity at this time is for health kits being done through our Children's Ministry. We will collect health kits through this Sunday. For details about how to build a health kit, go here. Kits can be dropped off on Sunday in the Asbury wing or during the week in one of the bins at the Wesley Hall entrance.
For all other donations and supplies, please take your items directly to the agency. This will ensure that the items get there immediately and can be sorted and processed more effectively.
Manna House is still in need of food and basic home and care supplies.
As a gentle reminder, PLEASE, DO NOT BRING CLOTHES!
Other important information:
- Self-Report - Have you been working in the field, providing meals, or other relief assistance? Please let us know so that we can have an accurate record of how we've contributed. Use the link to let us know how you've served.
- Sign up to help in various ways - Please use this link to let us know how you're interested in serving. When opportunities come up, we'll use this list to contact you.
There is so much more to share, and I hope to provide more information as soon as I'm able. Please continue to be patient and in prayer for all who continue to recover. Thank you for your continued efforts and support.
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