March 25, 2013


Greetings all:

Just wanted to pass on some statistics from the Gordon County Multi-agency Warehouse and Distribution Center operation we just completed.

Time Open to the Public: 6 weeks (Feb. 4-March 15)

Families Served: 132

Individuals Served: 473

Value of Donations Processed: $298,511.04

Number of Volunteers: 246

Volunteer Hours Worked: 2877.25

Organizations Receiving Leftover Goods at Close-Down: 25

Items Donated to Victims: 14,294

This has been another good operation. Cooperation with state and county officials has been cordial, most of the people needing assistance were served, and many county feeding centers, clothing centers, pregnancy clinics, womens' shelters, and other agencies were given items from the warehouse at shut-down. The Calhoun and Adairsville Seventh-day Adventist churches received many iems to shore up their ACS programs.

Our team was—again—superb. John Veldhuizen was our warehouse manager and worked tirelessly to make sure things ran seamlessly. Elaine, his wife, kept all of our statistics, sometimes working late into the evening to keep the information up-to-date. Irene Wilkinson, sorting manager, kept busy overseeing the volunteers in the sorting department and making sure things were sorted and inventoried properly. Gary Cross, assistant manager, stayed busy moving inventory, re-supplying the distribution operation, and covering for John when he had to be out of the building. When we were asked to take over the distribution operations, Rhonda Haight, the only one who had previous distribution experience, stepped in, set the operation up, and trained and oversaw the staff who worked there. Henry Beaulieu, our warehouse specialist, was there to provide the benefit of his experience to help John when something of critical import came up from time-to-time.

While the management team functioned well, it always depends on the rank-and-file volunteers who respond to actually make it all work. Most often, these are local people who walk in and offer to help, and this time was no different. At the beginning of an operation, there are many volunteers, but as the pace of activity slows down, these dwindle, until there is usually a core group of volunteers that tends to stay for the duration. That happened again this time. God always seems to pick out exactly the people we need. I can't stress enough the part the Holy Spirit plays in these operations, and He again provided us with exactly the people we needed. While we on the team have the training, experience, skills, and willingness to serve, we never know who God will send to work with us, and He picks the right ones every time—without exception. Out of all the volunteers we had who worked with us throughout the whole operation, only one was an Adventist—the rest were from a variety of different denominations. All considered themselves part of ACS DR and wore the shirts proudly.

Also, our shower trailer was used constantly at the Adairsville Church of God, providing the clean-up, debris-removal, and rebuilding crews who were being housed there with a place to shower and get cleaned-up after a long day of hard physical work. Pastor Coomer, the CoG pastor, couldn't thank us enough for providing that service for them.

So between the services provided by the Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church (which were significant), the Georgia-Cumberland Academy students, the Gordon County Multi-agency Warehouse and Distribution Center, and the Georgia-Cumberland shower trailer, Adventists have made a rather high-profile impact on both Gordon County and Bartow County. Most importantly, they have had a direct impact in relieving the suffering of the majority of the people affected by the tornados, bringing the spirit of Jesus to those who were impacted.

We are all grateful to God for giving us a chance to be of assistance to our neighbors in Gordon and Bartow counties and for providing us with the strength and wisdom to do so in a manner that would bring glory to Him.

March 7, 2013


This week, Calhoun, GA, received more storm damage, and Fox (Channel 5) out of Atlanta came up and did a report on it. ACS is featured toward the end of the news video—our warehouse in Gordon County is still serving and ministering!

Watch the "Microburst damages homes in Gordon County" report

February 19, 2013


A few statistics about those who have been helped by the center in Gordon County.
As of yesterday, Feb. 18, 2013...

Families assisted: 91

Individuals assisted:

Repeat families:

There have been several families through our distribution center since this list was compiled, so we are probably at more than 400 people who have been helped by ACS DR.


The Resource Staging Center (multi-agency warehouse) here in Calhoun (the old Big Lots, as it’s known locally) is up and functioning smoothly. It has transitioned from a purely warehouse operation to a combination warehouse/distribution center at the request of Gordon County officials. The distribution center being operated at the Sonoraville School Recreation Center was closed on Feb. 7, and all assets were transferred to our facility on Friday, Feb. 8, when we began distributing from here. Now all donations are being handled by us from this one location. Goods came to us on Friday in two school-bus loads and one Sheriff’s Dept. truckload, and were unloaded by 26 young, strong members of the Sonoraville High School weightlifting class.

Emergency manager Richard Cooper asked us late that Friday afternoon if we would mind working Saturday to serve the people who still needed help. We agreed, but most of our volunteers had already left. As we didn’t anticipate much business, this didn’t cause us much concern, because most of our management staff was still there, and we could handle any clients who came for help.

What we didn’t anticipate was the huge influx of donated goods that arrived that day! We had been told that if there wasn’t much business by noon, we could lock up and go home. Around 11:30, trucks and cars and pickups began to appear loaded with donated goods. We were quickly inundated! A call went to GCA for help, and a sizable group of students shortly appeared and began sorting goods. By the end of the day, nearly all of the things had been sorted and inventoried. This allowed our staff to concentrate on serving the clients who also began arriving for help at about the same time. The students from GCA saved the day for us!

That Friday saw visits from several dignitaries, including Charlie English, director of GA Emergency Management (GEMA), who had heard about our operation from GEMA Region 6 director Vickie Thompson, and wanted to see it for himself. We have been getting regular visits from GEMA officials, bringing other EMA directors from other counties to “see how donations management should be done!” Yesterday we were visited by three people from Whitfield County, asking if we could come and teach their people about donations management. We replied in the affirmative and are working that out with GEMA at the present.

Donations have continued to come in at a fairly consistent rate until now. We received a semi-load of supplies from the Church of Christ that was rated at $120,000. However, donations have come in from local people in bags and boxes, in pickups and cars, with all kinds of things, and the total amount of goods received from the public have now exceeded in value what the Church of Christ delivered. Our present inventory is rated at $271,494.

One nice thing about distributing is the people one meets and the stories you hear—stories of miracles, of heartbreak, of despair, of hope.

ACS DR has helped a lady who was voted “Teacher of the Year” for the State of Georgia, and was in California with her family, accepting her award when the tornado came through and destroyed her home. Had they been home, they very possibly would have been killed or seriously injured. Talk about mixed feelings!

Another family has been living in their van since the place they were living in was destroyed. ACS DR was able to not only assist them with food, personal care items, cleaning products, etc., but also found them housing and medical care.

These stories repeat themselves time and again, blessing our volunteers as they go about helping others.

We have been invited to a meeting with local and state officials today to get a briefing about the situation in Gordon County, and hopefully we will have some idea when it’s over about how long we will be open here.

I will send more information as we receive it.

February 8, 2013


What a difference a week makes!

When the tornado hit the Adairsville/Calhoun area last week, GA Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (GA VOAD) began holding teleconferences imediately, attempting to piece together what was happening—What is the situation on the ground? Which agencies are responding with what kind of aid? Where are they headquartered? Who are the contacts? etc.

It looked as though the donations management part of the picture was already in place; there were two churches, a Church of God and a Baptist church, already receiving goods and distributing them in Adairsville, and another Baptist church, plus the Sonoraville High School doing the same thing in Gordon County. We went to church Sabbath, secure in the feeling that things were well in hand in both counties. When we returned home, we found a message from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) asking me to call the Gordon County Emergency Management Director about taking over the county donations management. I contacted him, and we set up a meeting with him for Sunday. I later called the Georgia-Cumberland Conference Warehouse Management Team to be ready to deploy Monday morning.

We met with Richard Cooper, Gordon County EMA director, and three of his assistants on Sunday and discussed what we were being asked to do, what we needed from the county to do it, and where we would be working. We toured the old Big Lots store where they were presently receiving goods, determined that it was sufficient for our needs, and returned home to begin planing our response.

Monday our team met at the Conference ACSDR warehouse and office in Collegedale and loaded the truck for the trip to Calhoun. We also dispatched the Conference shower trailer to Adairsville that morning for use at the Adairsville Church of God. That church is serving as a volunteer base for the county, and they needed the shower trailer to be able to provide a place for the volunteers to clean up after a day of hard work. David Brooks and Larry Wise took the trailer there and set it up for the folks to use.

The warehouse team loaded a rental truck with the gear needed to open the warehouse and arrived in Calhoun about 1:00 pm. We were met by 15 firemen who unloaded our things and helped us set up in a basic way. We got our office set up but had to wait until the next day for the phones and hi-speed internet to be installed so we could become completely functional.

Tuesday was spent in getting things organized in the warehouse itself: the receiving, sorting, inventory storage, and shipping areas. Sorting began almost immediately. Our phones and internet systems were connected, and the office became functional. We were also told by chief Cooper that they would like us to take over the distribution part of donations management, as the Baptists had closed their operation, and the county was closing the Sonoraville High School distribution operation so the school could get back to normal. The county also wanted to assemble the entire donations program under one roof, so survivors didn't have to run all over the county to get help. We agreed to this, and Jerry Fore and I went over to confer with the manager of the Sonoraville facility to discuss a seamless merger of her operation with ours. The rest of the day was spent in fine-tuning our operation. We agreed to begin distribution operations on Thursday.

Wednesday was spent in continued sorting and inventorying and in setting up our distribution area. Students from Georgia-Cumberland Academy came as a part of their Community Service Day and spent the day with us, helping set up tables and stocking them, as well as helping with the sorting operation. By the end of the day, we were ready to start distribution.

Thursday began with a staff meeting to brief our workers as to what the long-term plans were, what was expected of them, and what our goals are. Most of our volunteers are not of our faith, and we wanted to make them feel a part of our team. We even handed out our goldenrod-colored shirts so they could be identified as a part of our team.

The final elements of the system came togeher Thursday. I received visits from four different GEMA officials, all promising any kind of assistance we needed and that they could provide, and expressing relief that the Adventists were there to handle the donations for the county. Most importantly, we finally got a forklift! We no longer have to unload trucks by hand. We also served eight families at the Distribution Center (representing about 45 individuals). Distribution will begin in earnest on Friday, as Thursday was the last day that the Sonoraville Center was open to the public. Today they will transfer their entire remaining stock to our facility.

Cooperation with the county has been all we could ask for—and more. They appreciate us, and we are happy to serve this community. Plans are to be open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm. The duration is expected to be around six weeks. However, plans change, and we could close earlier or go on a few days or weeks longer, depending on needs. We would like to train some local people to do this and allow our team to get some rest. I will be speaking with some of our local pastors to see if they might know of some church members who would be interested in this ministry.

God has led and is continuing to lead us as we minister to the survivors of this tragedy. We pray for their relief and for those who administer that relief in Jesus' name.

February 6, 2013


This location is for those affected by the tornado that ripped through the Calhoun, Ga., area on Jan. 30, 2013.

Gordon County Resource Staging Center
647 Highway 53 E
Calhoun,  GA

Phone: 706-879-2870

From the south—
   1. Take I-75 north to Exit 312
   2. Turn left on to Highway 53
   3. Turn left at the second traffic light
   4. Distribution center ris ont he left, just past Wendy's restaurant

From the north—
  1. Take I-75 south to Exit 312
  2. Turn right onto Highway 53
  3. Turn left at the second traffic light
  4. Distribution center ris ont he left, just past Wendy's restaurant

The Resource Staging Center does not receive clothes or furniture at this time. You may arrange for donating these items by contacting Stacy Long at the Voluntary Action Center in Calhoun, Ga.

Voluntary Action Center
343 S. Wall St.
Calhoun, GA

Phone: 706-629-7283

January 31, 2013


I sat in on a GA VOAD (Georgia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) meeting held at 8:30 this morning to try to ascertain what kind of help was available and needed following this storm. Information was sketchy at that point. We did find that there were three shelters open, but they were only housing around 35 residents. The Salvation Army had two feeding units in the area, serving mostly the shelters. Red Cross was just getting set up for casework (in addition to the shelter they were running) and were considering doing some bulk distribution, contingent on what they found our during an assessment today. A local Baptist church in Adairsville, Ga., was coordinating volunteers and in-kind donations. ACS DR was asked to stand by to operate a warehouse/distribution operation if that was found to be necessary. I reported that we had a team already on call to do that. Since the Baptists already have that going on, we most likely will not be asked to do that.

Tony Dahlberg, of the Samaritan Center, called me to see if we could coordinate efforts to bring relief to the area by mobile distribution. We decided to wait until Jerry Fore, general vice president for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, was able to contact the local church pastors in the area to see what their plans were to respond and to work with them.

Late this afternoon, Gary Rustad, pastor of the Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church, called and discussed what they were planing to do. He reported that they had several families from their church that were affected, with several with damaged homes and two who had their homes completely destroyed. He has been visiting victims all last night and all day today. With the prospect of volunteers pouring in from all over to help with cleanup this weekend, we decided that the Samaritan Center would load up supplies from the ACS DR warehouse in Collegedale and deliver them to the Calhoun Church tomorrow, where they would be distributed by Georgia-Cumberland Academy students on Sabbath. There will be many volunteers in the area tomorrow and over the weekend, and they will be able to use the items we will be bringing.

Tony is going to meet me tomorrow morning at 9:00, and we will load up such things as gloves, trash bags, hand cleaner, flashlights, batteries, tarps, and other items that can be used by people cleaning up following a disaster. We will also be bringing boxes for people to put their belongings in—an item we found extremely popular during the tornado response in Hamilton Co. last spring. The items will be delivered to the Calhoun Church for storage and distribution.

Again, quick action by local Adventist churches means relief of suffering by victims of disasters. The Conference is happy to serve in a support role for local  efforts.

More updates will  follow as they are warranted.