Disaster volunteers hone skills at training summit

Disaster volunteers hold a meeting

Dozens of Salvation Army disaster volunteers from across Minnesota and North Dakota gathered in early April for a three-day training summit that sharpened their skills in disaster preparation, response and recovery.

Volunteers pray with disaster survivorsThe summit, held at Salvation Army Northwoods Camp in Finlayson, Minn., featured many fascinating classes and topics:

  • Emotional/Spiritual Care: How to provide comfort for disaster survivors and relief workers who have been traumatized. (Read about what it’s like to provide emotional/spiritual care.)
  • Public Information Officer: How to collect facts about the many ways The Salvation Army serves during a given disaster, and how best to relay that information to the public and media.
  • Food service: Everything the volunteers needed to know about distributing meals and drinks while on board a Salvation Army mobile kitchen – including food safety, meal planning, and vehicle maintenance.

Class instructor Susan Marsh enjoyed teaching at the event.

Happy disaster volunteers“The summit gives me a chance to know new volunteers, to see their strengths and encourage them,” said Marsh, a retired junior high teacher. “There’s always a sense of joy among new students. You remember all over again why you’re involved with Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services.”

Longtime Salvation Army volunteers Walter and Sue Baker attended the summit to learn even more about how they can be of service during times of disaster.

The summit “was over-the-top fantastic,” Walter Baker said.

Added Sue: “We had great food, fellowship and learning.”

Volunteers give food from a mobile kitchenThe Salvation Army has been responding to natural disasters and emergencies since 1900, beginning with the Galveston, Texas hurricane that claimed thousands of lives. Today, thousands of trained Salvation Army disaster staff and volunteers provide comfort and relief when disasters strike anywhere in the world. (Read about a local disaster worker who traveled to Indonesia last month.)

The Salvation Army Northern Division needs more trained disaster volunteers in Minnesota and North Dakota. Typical duties include serving meals or comforting survivors after floods, fires, and tornadoes. Learn more or sign up.

The Salvation Army Northern Division pledges to do the most good with your gifts of time and money, with 81 cents of every dollar going directly to services. Join us by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community. Stay current on how The Salvation Army is changing lives in Minnesota and North Dakota by signing up for our e-Newsletters.

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