How Can I Help?

Volunteer

There are many aspects of disaster response, from being a prayer partner to being hands on in the relief phase. As believers in Christ we are called to be servants of the Lord. In disaster response, there are opportunities to serve with our head, heart, or hands. Regardless of previous experience, there is a place for you in disaster response to serve.

Special training is offered for early response teams. There are other trainings available as well. Contact your disaster response coordinator at disaster@arumc.org for more information.

Early Response Team (ERT)
Early Response Teams (ERTs) fill a specific need in the early days after a disaster to clean out flood-damaged homes, remove debris, place tarps on homes, and otherwise help to prevent further damage, while providing a caring Christian presence. ERTs are not a first-response group of emergency workers, nor are they recovery, rebuild, or repair teams. Under very specific guidelines, ERTs assist survivors, without causing further harm or being a burden to the affected community. ERT Certification requires successful completion of the Basic ERT course (8 hours) AND completion of the Safe Gatherings process. The training certification lasts 3 years. ERTs require an invitation to travel to another district, conference, or jurisdiction. Join this group of trained individuals extending the hands and feet of Christ to those in need. The Arkansas Conference has UMCOR certified trainers to assist individuals to become trained, certified and badged. Civil authorities want, and many times require, early, on-site responders to be trained and affiliated with a known disaster response organization. Note that this requires criminal background and child maltreatment registry checks.  These checks are done in compliance with Arkansas Conference Safe Sanctuary policies and due to the vulnerable state of those we serve who have been affected by disaster. UMCOR works in collaboration with United Methodist background checks are required, along with this class, in Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM).
Chainsaw Safety
Kevin Overholt Chainsaw Safety Coordinator 870-448-7505 kevin.overholt@arumc.org kevin.overholt68@gmail.com Our next training will be in the Fall in the Northwest District. Stay tuned for more information and announcements.
Emotional and Spiritual Care
Sheri Mathews Emotional and Spiritual Care Consultant 501-276-3544 cell sheriamathews@gmail.com Those affected by disaster face unique emotional and spiritual challenges. This caring ministry helps disaster survivors connect with the spiritual, emotional, and basic life resources within themselves and their communities. Disaster emotional and spiritual care is a versatile ministry that can be helpful in all phases of disaster. From times of peace through the chaos of disaster response and the seemingly long road to recovery, disaster emotional and spiritual care provides a ministry of presence with an emphasis on listening as a vehicle for healing. Volunteers become familiar with common reactions to traumatic stress and learn the importance of self care.
Case Management
UMCOR’s model for disaster case management is a holistic approach that addresses the whole person – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Case managers work hand in hand with survivors to understand their situation, help them develop a plan, and connect them to recovery resources. Basic Case Management Training prepares caring people to help vulnerable individuals and families “adjust to their new normal” after a devastating disaster. Additional training equips case managers with specific skill and in-depth practical applications. Note: This course is not offered as part of readiness training. A system for disaster case management must be in place following a disaster event.

Current Projects

  • 2016 Southeast AR Floods – Almost complete.
  • 2017 Northeast AR Floods – Plumbing and electrical in process on last replacement home. Need volunteer team to build access – porches and steps.
  • 2018 Lonoke County Floods – Requests for assistance receive in May. Case management in process. Construction assessment to begin soon.
  • 2018 Crawford County (Mountainburg) Tornado – Working with AR VOAD partners, other response partners, and the local recovery group to coordinate efforts and secure resources. Case management is almost complete. Construction assessment is complete. We will be rebuilding one home, replacing two mobile homes and a camper home, and working four repair jobs. The home build is a pilot project with Help Build Hope and may be an answer to rebuild when only one to a few homes are damaged beyond repair by a disaster event. Small events don’t attract the large build teams. Click here to see a fact sheet for the home build. The biggest need will be work teams with skills to do the finish work once the home is dried in. We were introduced to Help Build Hope through the work they did at ECHO Village in Eureka Springs.
  • 2018 St. Francis County Wind Storms – In contact with local officials, local pastors, and Arkansas Red Cross – No requests for assistance at this time.

Operation Under Blue Skies

During the calm, we are operating with blue skies. During the calm, we focus primarily on preparedness so that when disasters come, we are equipped to respond. During this time we are trying to connect with churches that are “go to, getter done” churches to respond when disaster strikes in that community or beyond.

Ideally, these churches would name a disaster response coordinator, commit to having an early response team, and commit to having a series of trainings. These trainings wouldn’t be exclusive- other churches and resources in the area need to be reached to build capacity.

We would love to hear from you or your church and meet to discuss this new vision of disaster response. Click here for letter better explaining this vision for more information.

Refer back to here for more information about projects in the future. Or connect with us on Facebook for the most current updates. Our page is: Volunteers in Mission & Disaster Response- Serving Arkansas & Beyond.

Relief Supplies

Help us restock relief supply kits!

Relief supply kits help provide care for the most vulnerable people during times of crisis. Health kits, school kits, and cleaning buckets are collected by generous donors across the United States. These items are then sent to one of two supply depots, or a network warehouse where volunteers assemble, verify, and pack the kits so that they can be sent to where they are needed most.

Kits also help sustain everyday life for people who lack ready access to essential supplies. They provide vital support for UMCOR’s global development work and make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

Arkansas conference maintains a startup stock of kits to have for use when disaster strikes until more can be requested and transported from Sager Brown.

Visit UMCOR’s web site for more information by clicking here.