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.