Disaster relief: More volunteers wanted

April 1st, 2020 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

Disaster relief: More volunteers wanted

Looking for something meaningful to do while sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic? In about two hours you can be trained in basic disaster relief by accessing the free online course Introduction to Disaster Relief, available at sbtexas.com.

Visit the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention website (sbtexas.com), scroll through the Church Ministries option and select the Disaster Relief link to go to the DR page. There, click on Training and then Online Training. You will be prompted to register, supply login information and create a password for the online course.

Before beginning the course, you may want to download and print the Intro to DR Manual, available at the bottom left of the page.

During the course, you will be required to answer questions after each section before advancing.

After completing the course, you must submit required documents using the links provided. This includes a Personal Information Form that may be submitted electronically via PDF; a volunteer agreement; release and waiver of liability; and an authorization for a background check. You will also need to submit a photo for your SBTC DR badge.

Once you have completed the course and submitted the documents, you will be a credentialed SBTC DR volunteer, able to deploy with a team.

All SBTC DR volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, members of a Southern Baptist Church, and willing to serve.

Online training in DR feeding and recovery—specialized courses available for those who have completed the introductory course—is expected to be available in mid-April, said Kelsey Melvin, SBTC DR ministry assistant.

All online classes are free.

Scottie Stice, SBTC DR director, told the TEXAN that efforts are currently ongoing among DR task force members to encourage college-age groups to pursue the online training.

Wally Leyerle, SBTC DR associated, expressed enthusiasm about the coming advanced training in feeding and recovery: “In times of large scale disasters, like Hurricane Harvey, we will be able to train new volunteers quickly, without taking our most experienced people from the field to do the training.”

“The Intro to DR class kicks all the doors wide open,” Stice said. “Students become credentialed DR volunteers at the completion of the course. We would like them to take advanced training, too.”

COVID-19 deployments will be different

Disaster relief deployments during the coronavirus crisis may look different than usual Stice said, even if there is a tornado or flood.

“Mass feeding as usual with our large kitchens is unlikely while the coronavirus is a threat,” Stice said. “We may engage in deployments with the QR (Quick Response) kitchens. Our deployments may involve smaller groups and be more localized, using facilities in area churches.”

The QR kitchens may be used to support medical or law enforcement personnel or first responders, Stice added. 

“We won’t have contact with those receiving the food and we must carefully handle the food in such cases. It can be done,” Stice said.

SBTC DR chaplains continue to staff prayer hotline

Concerned about the coronavirus or know someone who is worried? The SBTC DR chaplain prayer hotline at 1-800-921-3287 has expanded its hours, now open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week, with voicemail capability. Callers may speak with a trained chaplain and receive comfort and prayer.