Why Volunteer?

The sun was shining, and the white fluffies dotted the crystal blue sky; but the shoulder-high piles of debris lining both sides of the street as far as the eye could see spoke of a very different day in the not-so-distant past. It was the August 2016 Flood of Louisiana—the second most expensive natural disaster in American history, only preceded by Hurricane Sandy.

As always, the disaster was not a respecter of persons or neighborhoods, leaving no one untouched. Many were experiencing one of the biggest crisis of their lives, losing basically all personal property.

Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief sent in chaplains to comfort and encourage the hurting people. On this day, Jerry Parker and Keith Crawford stopped for a visit with widower Rebecca. She welcomed them inside her home where extended family were helping sort through the soppy mess, hoping to salvage as much of her life as possible.

Stepping outside, where stacks of hoped-to-be-saved items filled the carport, Jerry asked Rebecca a question. If she died tonight, and Jesus asked her why He should let her into heaven, what would she say? Rebecca stammered a little, searching for words. She mentioned something about church attendance and a preacher daddy but really didn’t seem to have a clear answer for the pointed question. Jerry shared the Hope of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, with Rebecca and invited her to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Rebecca said, “Yes,” and bowed her head in prayer.

Within a moment, eternity was changed for Rebecca. She became a new creation, and her countenance immediately reflected just that. Tears flowed, and a gentle smile engulfed her weary, lined face. It was a new beginning, a fresh start. What Satan had meant to harm and destroy, God used to bring life and healing.

Arkansas Baptists care about people. This is the reason we pray, give, and go. Sometimes the need is flood remediation, removal of tree limb debris, or a hot meal to get through another long day of trying to bravely put life back together again. Always, Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers go to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ. Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are trained and credentialed, often provided immediate access into areas of crisis where we can meet people at their points of need.

You, too, can become a trained, credentialed Disaster Relief volunteer by attending one of the four regional Disaster Relief training events throughout the state this year. Please prayerfully consider if Disaster Relief is a ministry in which the Lord is calling you to serve.

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

 ~Mark 10:43-45

how to Volunteer

Recognized nationally alongside other disaster organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, Disaster Relief is a faith-based organization of trained volunteers who are prepared to bring Help, Healing, and the Hope of Jesus Christ to those directly affected by disasters.

So you want to make a difference in the lives of disaster survivors? We need you on our team!

1. Attend a Training Event

To become a trained, credentialed Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer, you must first attend one of our regional training events. We typically host five trainings each year, one for every region of the state. See upcoming 2019 training events.

You must be 18 years old and a member of a Southern Baptist church in order to volunteer. For new volunteers, we also require a background check.

2. Choose Your Discipline

Each training event provides an overview of Disaster Relief policies and covers all volunteer disciplines, including Incident Command, chainsaw, chaplaincy, feeding, flood recovery, shower/laundry, and mud-out. You can cross-train in more than one discipline, but you may only train for one discipline at each training event.

3. Standby

Once you receive your credentials in a discipline, you are assigned to a local unit in your area. Your Unit Leader (also known as a Blue Cap) then communicates with your team about deployment opportunities. You are ready to respond!

Have more questions about volunteering? Check out our Volunteer FAQ’s.

Emergency Training Events

More Emergency Trainings Coming Soon

Regional Training Events

March 9, 2019

Nettleton Baptist Church
7001 Johnson Ave,
Jonesboro, AR 72401

 

April 13, 2019

First Baptist Church Rogers
3364 W Pleasant Grove Rd
Rogers, AR 72758

September 14, 2019

Forrest City Baptist Church
507 N Rosser St
Forrest City, AR 72335

 

October 12, 2019

Immanuel Baptist Church Little Rock
501 N Shackleford Rd
Little Rock, AR 72211

Register For a Training Event Today

Training Information

Training Times

8:00am – 2:00pm

 

These trainings will be offered at all locations:

  • Assessment
  • Chainsaw
  • Communications
  • Feeding
  • Flood Recovery (formerly Mud-Out)
  • Safety
  • Shower/Laundry

 

Ham Radio testing available at 2019 DR Regional Training events for $15.

A great place to get ready for your multi-choice test is http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed. Particularly the “Exam Practice” or Taking Practice Exams sections. No test-specific training will be offered during the Disaster Relief training, so please come prepared to test.

 

New volunteers, $30

Training materials, background check, ID and lanyard, lunch, DR cap

 

Updates needing new DR ID, $20

Training materials, background check, ID and lanyard, lunch

 

Cross Training Volunteers with current DR ID, Free

Training materials and lunch

CROSS TRAINING & RENEWING

CROSS TRAINING

If your Disaster Relief ID badge is current (not expired), we consider you a Current Volunteer. Current volunteers are the heart of ABSC Disaster Relief. You are the movers and shakers, the ministers of the Gospel of Hope to people experiencing crisis. You have invested your time, resources, and energy into making a difference in the world. We cannot do Disaster Relief without you! Many deployments are exclusively for current volunteers. To stay current, you will need to attend a regional training event the year your Disaster Relief ID expires to update your ID.

We do encourage our amazing Current Volunteers to take advantage of cross-training at the regional training events. This is totally FREE to you! Just register as a Cross-trainer. Cross-training gives you an opportunity to learn about another discipline and be assigned to another team, therefore increasing your deployability. Thank you for your commitment to the relevant ministry of Disaster Relief!

UPDATING / RENEWING

as a Disaster Relief Volunteer

  • Register and attend a Regional Training event (posted at www.absc.org/disasterrelief)
  • Have photo taken at training event
  • Complete and submit registration card for specific discipline class at event
  • Complete and submit application
    • Participant Liability Release
    • Volunteer Agreement
    • Criminal Background Check Authorization
  • FEMA online training is recommended but not required
    • IS 100.b (Introduction to Incident Command) and
    • IS 700.a (National Incident Management System)
    • Both found at the FEMA site here
    • Print or scan certificates and return to ABSC DR office.

VOLUNTEER FAQs

ABSC Disaster Relief teams are made up of credentialed Disaster Relief volunteers. To join a team, register and attend a Regional Training Event. Training event information, dates, and registration are at abscdisasterrelief.org/volunteer  

Since our ministry is based on trained, background-checked volunteers, most missions will NOT be open to uncredentialed volunteers. Occasionally, we will plan a one day response event that incorporates untrained volunteers working under the leadership of trained volunteers. When our response includes one of these days, notice will be posted right here on our website. The best thing to do is take the opportunity to attend a Regional Training Event and become a credentialed Disaster Relief volunteer.
When a disaster strikes, many people, just like you want to help in any way possible. Monetary donations to credible Disaster Relief organizations is the most efficient way to deliver supplies to the front lines following a disaster. Sometimes people collect water bottles, food, stuffed animals, clothing, and other items. These supplies can become what is know in the emergency response world as the “second disaster”, becoming more a burden than assistance to the survivors. Issues including pick-up, transportation, storage, and distribution demand manpower and resources that can better be used to supply exactly what is needed , where it is needed, when it is needed. Less is wasted, and true needs are met in a timely manner.
ABSC Disaster Relief volunteers must be 18 years or older. This policy is a national Southern Baptist Disaster Relief policy made to protect children. Children are not allowed on Disaster Relief missions.
 
No, you do not. When you are credentialed as a Disaster Relief volunteer, you will receive the only logo items you need to respond, which are your ABSC Disaster Relief ID, lanyard, and yellow cap. Many volunteers choose to purchase Disaster Relief clothing to identify with the ministry of Disaster Relief while they are serving. Hence the celebratory phrase, “The yellow shirts are coming!!” Currently credentialed volunteers only may purchase Disaster Relief clothing at www.absc.org/disasterrelief.
ABSC Disaster Relief posts regularly on the Missions Team ABSC Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/mtabsc
Every three years, Disaster Relief volunteers must update their Disaster Relief credentials by attending a Regional Training Event.
We highly encourage our Disaster Relief volunteers to cross train. This makes you more deployable, and it’s FREE to you as long as your Disaster Relief ID is current! For the three years your ID is current, you may attend any Regional Training Event free of charge.