I volunteer with several different organizations. I often remark that, “I work to support my volunteer habits.”
After this past weekend and seeing the images from the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, only miles from my sister-in-law, niece and her family, there is no question “why” I volunteer.
Disasters bring out the best in human kindness and the worst in greedy people as well.
There are two main layers to responding to disasters…. First, respond to the immediate need of shelter, food, water, clothing (baby diapers, formula).. And the American Red Cross is there. Prepared, ready to deploy with trained volunteers. Setting up shelters, feeding, asking the difficult questions, and making sure the immediate needs are taken care of. http://www.redcross.org
The salvation army, Baptist Men’s units and several other rapid response organizations are also making their way to staging area to lend helping hands during the aftermath of the tornadoes. Local animal rescues have stepped up to provide food, emergency shelter and water for those animals displaced from their homes.
First responders, search and rescue workers are right now, searching for survivors. The local Home Depot in Moore, OK has even started receiving pets.
La Quinta Inn chain hotels has a pet friendly policy bit this is one of the first chains to be booked during an emergency. Best Western and Motel 6 chains have restrictions on pets and charge a daily surcharge.
The first phase of emergency response, food, shelter, water… Is especially important if you have babies.
The Infant Crisis Services organization is located in Oklahoma City and is accepting donations. Go to http://www.infantcrisis.org for drop-off information. Follow their instructions for packaging and shipping boxes of formula and bottles.
Phase 2 of emergency response is clean-up… After the news crews go home, families return to what is left of their homes, and pick up the pieces. Many of the families in Oklahoma will be in shelters for weeks or temporary housing for longer. Their homes are gone.
So when people ask, “why do you volunteer? ” I just smile and think about a time, a long time ago, when I was 6 years old and our house burned. I didn’t know that it was a disaster… I just knew that I stayed home from school, was told to play outside and out of the way of the cleanup while charred furniture was brought outside and I played on the swing that hung from the oak tree.
We had family and neighbors who helped. Be that neighbor, that friend. Don’t wait for a disaster to hit to become involved. http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/relief-supplies