While Central Florida residents were prepping for Hurricane Dorian to possibly impact their cities and homes, groups of volunteers have been preparing to help after the storm passes.
Over the past two weeks groups of volunteers have been trained and updated to help with the Crisis Cleanup hotline. The hotline, which was opened this week, is available for those in the United States needing assistance with after-storm cleanup. Volunteers work from home answering forwarded calls and sending out work orders. The work orders are then used by a second group of volunteers who form work crews to deploy to disaster areas. The primary requests are for debris and tree removal, muck-outs of homes and roof tarping.
“I am unable to go out with a work crew, but I can answer calls on the hotline. Many callers don’t have family close by or don’t know where to get help. Many are in great distress when they call. We are a listening ear for them in their time of need,” Alan Jones of Groveland shared.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lake County, along with other volunteer organizations, have helped with the hotline for the past three years, after Hurricanes Matthew, Irma, Florence and Michael. Stephanie Keller and her family of Clermont helped on a work crew after Hurricane Michael in October 2018. “It was a great opportunity for our family to help in Mexico Beach. I couldn’t believe the devastation from the storm. It was wonderful to see the people’s reaction to our help.” And Darren Lofthouse of Groveland explained, “We have volunteer work crews ready to go where we are needed. We take our own provisions and set up tent cities so there is no extra strain on the limited resources in the affected areas. It is hard work, but very rewarding to know we can help.”
Crisis Cleanup (crisiscleanup.org), which manages the hotline, has assisted with 132 disasters including tornados, hurricanes, flooding, fires and other disasters since July 2012. Their mission is to “help voluntary relief organizations help more people by enabling collaborative disaster recovery.” (from Crisis Cleanup website).
For anyone who has need of assistance or who may have family or friends in storm impacted areas in the United States, please call (toll free)1-844-965-1386 for help.