With the recent occurrence of multiple natural disasters over much of the eastern part of our country, the California-Pacific Conference Disaster Response Task Force wants to highlight opportunities that are and will be available for those who wish to serve on volunteer teams.
Our disaster response occurs in two forms:
First is Early Response, when teams are sent from our Conference to another Conference that has requested help in meeting seemingly overwhelming needs in their Jurisdiction. Early response teams (ERT) must have at least 51% of their members badged as having undergone the certified training program provided under the auspices of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). ERTs are sent to help stabilize conditions after a disaster to minimalize further damage to homes and property and to aid survivors in their first steps toward hope and recovery.
The Mississippi Conference has sent out requests for help in the aftermath of multiple tornadoes. Typical work would involve roof tarping, clean up, and debris removal. Interest in volunteering with a team and/or in attaining the necessary training should be directed to our Cal-Pac Disaster Response Coordinator, Karl Ports (email@example.com; 619.823.8424). It is recommended that teams utilize the tool and supply trailers maintained by the Task Force. They are fully equipped for any needs and help advertise our presence with the Conference and UMCOR logos painted on them.
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) rebuild teams are the second form of disaster response. An example of this activity is currently in the California-Nevada Conference in partnership with Hope Crisis Response Network (HCRN). Homes lost or damaged in devastating fires are being rebuilt at hosted sites in Paradise, Happy Camp, and Foresthill. Teams with any level of skills are invited for a week at a time. Those seeking to lead a team should contact Susan Harriss, Cal-Pac UMVIM Coordinator and Team Leader Trainer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While the HCRN sites provide the necessary tools and supplies, the Task Force can provide an equipped trailer for rebuilding purposes in other areas of the country. For local churches wishing to organize their own teams, the Task Force can also provide support through team leader training and assistance in logistics organization.
Interested individuals or small groups can contact Karl Ports and find out when and where teams are currently planned for 2023.