VolunteerAR is one of the state’s lead agencies for volunteers and donations before, during, and after disasters. In partnership with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), VolunteerAR:
Coordinates with Arkansas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (ARVOAD), a member of the National Voluntary Organizations in Disaster (NVOAD), and local and state government emergency management agencies to meet volunteer and donation needs.
Provides training for government, non-government, and private sector organizations on disaster volunteer and donations management.
Mobilizes and deploys resources to assist communities responding to and recovering from disaster.
- The state encourages individuals interested in volunteering after a disaster to connect with a voluntary organization/agency of their choice or register at a local volunteer reception center.
- The state encourages the general public to make cash donations to voluntary, faith-based, recognized nonprofit organizations, and/or community organizations providing services to disaster victims.
If you would like to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, please click on the links below:
Here are some reminders about what to do when disaster strikes that we hope you will take to heart and share with your friends and relatives.
Do not self-deploy as a volunteer to a disaster area. We know you want to help, but food, water, shelter, and transportation are at a premium and the first priority is making sure that first responders and local residents can get what they need.
Sign up before you show up. If you are able to volunteer, make sure to find an organization and sign up. Capacity is stretched during disasters and you need to make sure that you can be utilized.
Donate cash. What most communities need is cash, not things. Find a reputable organization that is supporting the disaster response and recovery and contribute. They can buy what they need and not have to worry about sorting and storing donations, especially when storage facilities may be damaged or being used to shelter people. Here are some national disaster response organizations you may want to consider.
Staging for Deployment, please do not self deploy.
Operation BBQ Relief is mobilizing assets and securing resources to address the impending destruction that currently is in the path of Hurricane Harvey. We are prepared to feed the first responders and people affected by this monster storm. However, we will need your help. Yes you. We will need volunteers and donations to fill the need that Harvey will cause. If you can give some time, we will need it. If you can give money or donations in kind, we need that too. Please click on the link and give whatever you can. We appreciate and respect your time and money.
Volunteer by going to our website: https://operationbbqrelief.org/apis/volunteer/home/registration or by downloading our mobile Application
Diapers are much needed in the Houston area. Disaster organizations like Red Cross, FEMA etc. do not distribute and hospitals have been hit as much as homes.
The Texas Diaper Bank is in need. Here is the link: http://www.texasdiaperbank.org/our-programs/disaster-relief/
Responding to Disasters in Arkansas
Randolph County staff showcases mettle during a tough situation
The dedication, resourcefulness, and resiliency of staff from the Department of Human Services (DHS) Randolph County office is being tested.
And much to the delight of many, they’ve excelled while dealing with a major inconvenience.
“We’re just working hard as usual,” said Brenda Poindexter, Randolph County Administrator.
Last month, a series of rain showers flooded several communities in Northeast Arkansas. The Randolph County office is located in the town of Pocahontas, one of the areas ravaged by the floods.
The office sits in close proximity to the Black River. In fact, its banks are visible from the office. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the building has been flooded. It was also overwhelmed by waters from the Black River in 2011. It took six months for the facility to reopen for business.
To assure that staff would be properly prepared if the waters ever rose to a similar height, county staff created a flood evacuation plan and included it in the county procedures plan. Additionally, staff has been encouraged to closely monitor the weather and river levels. The employee observations typically begin in March.
“About a week-and-a-half before this flood I had a staff meeting,” Poindexter said. “We addressed exactly when to have items out of the office, and when to contact the supervisors of the various divisions for direction as to where they would be housed. Milissa Gentry, county administrator for the Lawrence County office, also started developing a plan for how to accommodate the Randolph County staff, if the flood occurred. We had it all set. Staff was excellent. Everybody knew their responsibility and they took care of it.”
Some staff members worked on Sunday to process case actions to ensure that clients were properly served, and to also make sure the processing of case actions was timely.
Nevertheless, the plan was accompanied by a small dose of anxiety. In fact, on the day of the evacuation, Lawrence County staff along with family members assisted Randolph County in moving essential items to the Lawrence County office.
“It was chaotic and nerve wracking, but we all get along well and work well together so that made it easier,” Andrea Jennings, Randolph County Program Eligibility Specialist said. “But we were much better prepared for it this time.”
Currently, there’s no timetable for when the office will be ready to resume normal operations.
In the meantime, several staff members are working out of a single room in the Lawrence County DHS which is located in nearby Walnut Ridge. Two of the employees are also working out of the Craighead County office. Meanwhile, a satellite office has been created in Pocahontas, where Randolph County clients can drop off important paperwork.
“We’ve processed lots of applications from people who lost food in the floods,” Jennings stated.
Overall, the work is constant; the burden immense, but Randolph County staff has still shined bright.
“This has been challenging. We’re sitting on top of each other,” Poindexter said. “We’re trying to work. It’s been tough on Lawrence County also. They now have 20 additional staff being there. But the staff is doing a wonderful job.”