Early Response Teams from the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church continue to help those most affected by Hurricane Matthew, the flooding that followed and other natural disasters.
But more volunteers are needed, and disaster relief officials have scheduled two opportunities in January for those who want to train to become certified ERT members and leaders.
“The most important thing we do is help give people their homes back and comfort them – making things safe, making people stable so they can deal with what they’ve got.”
Both training days are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 21 at:
- Highland Park UMC, 1300 Second Loop Road, Florence. Contact Billy Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-539-8429 to attend.
- Zion UMC, 5708 S.C. 187 North, Anderson. Contact Mark Springer at email@example.com or 864-367-8047 to attend.
All classes are $35 for ERT Basic or $10 for a refresher class. Fees cover the cost of a shirt, cap, badge and manual. ERT members taking the class as a refresher are asked to pay $10 to cover the cost of an updated manual.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before volunteers can attend ERT training, they are required to go through a background check, and previously trained ERT members must make sure their background checks are up-to-date. To do that, go to smart-trak.com/umcsc.
Other than the ERT training, volunteers don’t need special skills to be able to help. There’s a role for everyone, regardless of age, skill level or work schedule.
“A lot of our team members can only help out on weekends, while some take vacation time,” Robinson said. “If you think you’re too old to get up on a roof, you can do assessments or help hand tools up or work clearing brush from yards. Age is not a significant barrier.
“We do need a lot of youth and muscle power, but anyone can contribute.”
How else can you help?
- Donate financially to the S.C. Conference’s disaster relief efforts at umcsc.org/data/disasterresponsedonation.php, and to UMCOR’s Advance U.S. Disaster Response, which allows UMCOR to respond quickly and appropriately to emergencies in the United States.
- Pray for the safety of those affected by the storm, emergency responders and Early Response Teams providing relief efforts.