I am heartbroken watching the news with natural disasters. What can I do to help?
When a natural disaster hits, it seems that no matter what our political stance, or religious views are, we all come together in the world with the mutual concept to help as best we can. While some people shy away from the idea of going straight into the thick of things, such as after an earthquake or tsunami, others thrive at the idea of running straight for the chaos. These trips could possibly be the hardest trips to step out into, because they are where you will truly see it all. Here, you will see the blood and tears and death that comes hand in hand with natural disasters that strike our world.
One organization that comes right to mind in dealing with this is called “Convoy of Hope”. While they offer many other options to serve, such as children’s feeding, women’s empowerment, and agriculture, their disaster services are what they are known for. The disaster service respond team was founded in 1998 in Texas, after Tropical Storm Charley. Since then, they have responded to all different types of natural disasters in the US and in the world. They have already responded to over 280 disasters, and in their rescue missions they provide food, water, emergency supplies, and long term solutions to family who can’t recover after a tragedy wiped them out. They have 44,749 volunteers to date and have delivered over 2,479 loads of supplies.
This certain mission touches my heart in the way that I was blessed to be a part of the hope restoration from the aftermath of a disaster. In 2010, an earthquake hit Haiti’s capital, Port-Au-Prince. The entire country was already known for being a poverty-stricken, but this had wiped them out completely. Buildings were crumbling on top of families, and people were running for their lives, trying to escape in a fallen city. Last summer, I went on a mission trip and had the chance to hear testimonies from our guides, who were there on the day of the earthquake, and with their families no less. Jude told us that he was working when the earthquake hit and his immediate thought was to run over to the school where his wife was teaching, and while he was jogging over, he heard screams everywhere. He was almost to the school, when someone caught his attention. He saw a man, reaching for another man, covered in rubble and screaming for help. The cement (everything in Haiti is built of cement, being the cheapest material) had crushed this man beneath its weight. Jude ran over and helped push the weighted block off the man, while the other dragged him out from underneath, with a crushed body. He then shook off the horror he saw, and ran to see if his wife was okay. He told us that there was so much screaming, and the dead were scattered throughout the streets. There is a huge difference between seeing the news on TV, then seeing it close up, and getting to know the people that went through it.
So many people were moved by Jude’s story, that many of my fellow travel companions have had the chance to go back to Port-Au-Prince through Convoy of Hope, to bring hope and relief to the disaster that is still being lived in their everyday lives, from the aftermath.
So how can you get involved?
The first step would be to sign up as a volunteer for the organization, which you can easily do online, and as you are applying for the volunteer position, you then designate what area you want to serve. If you felt as if this was the right place for you, then you fill out information for the disaster response team. They follow major domestic disasters, and the opportunities include damage assessment, delivery of supplies, debris removal and more. While they follow international disasters, they also work with their own in-country teams to assess where volunteers are needed, and you will be placed accordingly.
National disasters can rarely be predicted, but will you join the team to help bring hope to the hopeless?
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