Kroc Center hosts volunteer organizations

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Salvation Army brings together volunteer groups to share lunch and ideas

When the fires started in San Diego County on October 21, volunteers from dozens of organizations mobilized, helping people in hundreds of ways. As the community moves from emergency response to recovery and rebuilding, there hasn’t been a moment to share “who is doing exactly what” and to ensure resources are being used in the most effective ways. Thus, The Salvation Army decided to bring together 200 VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) and community leaders for lunch at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in San Diego on Tuesday, October 30.

“VOAD is a collaborative, and our key to success is communication. What better way to do that than over lunch,” said VOAD regional president Don Read, who also leads The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster response.

“While The Salvation Army is willing to take a significant and lead role in the rebuilding, it will take the cooperation and collaboration of many groups to meet the short and long-term needs of those impacted by the wildfires,” said Lt. Colonel Doug O’Brien, Sierra del Mar divisional commander. The Salvation Army was a lead agency in rebuilding following the 2003 wildfires, completing the last home just two months ago.

A working lunch for at least 80 VOAD organizations and 200 leaders provided opportunity to share what each organization is doing and to strengthen collaboration efforts in recovery and rebuilding. State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth attended, along with leaders from local VOAD organizations and city and county officials.

Orange County response continues
An update from Orange County advises that as people return to their neighborhoods to begin sifting through the ashes where their homes once stood, The Salvation Army has transitioned from feeding evacuees at fixed sites to sending roving units into burned-out neighborhoods.

These three-person teams are providing shovels, rakes, sifters and small containers for treasures they find, as well as comfort and support. The units will also serve small meals, hand out water and other cool drinks. They even gave out some Halloween candy. They are also distributing personal care items such as Kleenex, masks and sanitizing wipes.

Emotional and spiritual care two-person teams will drive through neighborhoods offering comfort and support as well as cool water and snacks. These teams can take time with people, providing a listening ear.

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