TACCOR Volunteers: Preparing to Help

Date Posted: 9/13/2012

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires… disasters of all types create immediate, unexpected needs across communities. In times like these TACCOR (Texas Annual Conference Committee on Relief) is able to assess needs and send volunteers and donations where they can be most helpful. TACCOR works with area officials and organizations to understand specific needs and challenges after a disaster, and coordinate volunteers accordingly – once the disaster area is ready to receive such groups. 


“The leadership team, trainers, and even some ERT teams make disaster relief preparedness a year round thing,” David Brooks, TACCOR’s Director of Communications said. “It is a lot like eating healthy and exercising, it has to be done year round, not just before the annual physical.”


Volunteers Needed

The timeline for volunteers to be deployed to help in and after a disaster varies by the type of disaster and the kind of volunteer work,” Brooks continued. “This is covered in the ERT (Early Response Team) training offered throughout the Texas Annual Conference each year. For Logistics and Communications teams, the need for deployment will vary greatly - from well before a storm strikes land to several days after a natural disaster.”


There are many opportunities to be trained to become part of the early response teams, but Brooks added there are plenty of other ways to help for those who haven’t had ERT training. “We will need people to help with logistics and with the call team and other communications duties. Anyone with telephone skills, basic computer skills, and a willingness to serve can help.”


The best way to indicate interest in volunteering is to complete the volunteer questionnaire at www.taccor.org/volunteer.htm. Those who sign up will be contacted by someone on the TACCOR team.



How Churches Can Help

There are many ways churches can get involved.  For instance, you can:

·         Host a training session for others in your area

·         Offer facilities to house or feed response teams in the event of a disaster in your district

·         Serve as a base of operations if a disaster affects your geographic  area

·         Share TACCOR needs and training information with church members

·         Prepare cleaning buckets (needed year round) or other requested resources

·         Identify leaders in your congregation who can help with recovery efforts when the need arises in your area


Churches can also serve as a point for collecting donations, but TACCOR requests that churches and individuals first find an agency that is willing and able to accept donated goods before collecting them. “We have outlined on our website where goods and supplies may be useful and why cash helps far more in relief and recovery operations,” Brooks continued. “One key thing for everyone to remember - donated used goods must be cleaned and sorted, consuming many volunteer hours, then transported costing more hours and dollars.”


“When cash is donated, new items can be given and purchased locally - helping stimulate the economy of the area hit by the disaster. This also cuts down on volunteer time and expenses getting survivor needs met,” Brooks added. “When TACCOR does need specific goods and supplies, that need will be indicated on our website at: www.taccor.org/activeresponse.htm.


The best place to get information about the latest trainings and updates on what TACCOR is doing with a particular storm or disaster is to visit www.taccor.org/activeresponse.htm.


Status updates and current needs are also posted to Twitter: @taccorcommdir