In This Issue:

  • Volunteer Appreciation Month — Shout Out to Local Disaster Volunteers
  • Volunteer Reception Center
  • Disaster Training
    • Getting It Right:  An All-Inclusive Planning Workshop Series
    • TGCR VOAD Tabletop Exercise

April is Global Volunteer Month – Shout Out to Local Disaster Volunteers

Since early 2020, the Greater Houston area has responded to five disasters. While many more organizations contributed to the efforts, here’s a snapshot of spontaneous disaster volunteer responses from the greater Houston area recorded through the virtual volunteer reception center.

COVID-19 March 19, 2020 50 93 2,184
Hurricane Laura August 25, 2020 4 6 86
Winter Storm February 17, 2021 11 28 408
Refugee Resettlement July 30, 2021 10 51 423
Hurricane Ida August 27, 2021 2 7 14


Volunteer Reception Center

What is a virtual volunteer reception center? A Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) is a process to register, screen, and place spontaneous volunteers in available opportunities in times of disaster. This model is coordinated locally by Volunteer Houston. The aim of Volunteer Reception Centers is to affiliate spontaneous volunteers with requesting agencies. This is done by registering and vetting potential volunteers, understanding their skill sets, and coordinating the connection to volunteer opportunities managed by local disaster response organizations.

So, why should we promote a virtual VRC for the entire Houston metro area? You are probably familiar with the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats”? In this case, each of your organizations is the tide! The more we work together, the more likely we will collectively meet the needs of all those boats – i.e the disaster survivors. Consider these goals.

  • GOAL #1 | More volunteer responses for participating agencies.
  • GOAL #2 | Faster and more complete response to survivors.
  • GOAL #3 | Less confusion and frustration for all!

Imagine a community where organizations that are open to spontaneous volunteers after a disaster use a central portal to promote their volunteer opportunities which would – in turn – justify a request to local media stations to promote a single portal for disaster volunteer opportunities for all local disasters. The same URL every year for every disaster –

If we were to ask local media stations to promote this URL now there would be very few disaster volunteer opportunities listed for the flood of people who would be accessing the virtual VRC. This level of consistency – organizations posting their disaster volunteer needs in a single location combined with local media stations promoting the same VRC URL every year for every disaster –  will eventually, over time, result in more organized and streamlined spontaneous volunteer management for the entire community and for local nonprofits.


Getting It Right: All-Inclusive Planning Workshop Series

The Houston Urban Area Security Initiative is hosting the Getting it Right All-Inclusive Workshop Series on April 25 – 28, 2022 for emergency managers, planners, operational positions, disability community, disability advocates, nonprofit partners, VOAD partners, clinicians, hospitals, and contractors.  The sessions are as follows:

  • Monday, April 25 from 10 – 11:30 – Immigration Population
  • Tuesday, April 26 from 10 – 11:30 – Persons Experiencing Homelessness
  • Wednesday, April 27 from 10 – 11:30 – Aging Population
  • Thursday, April 28 from 10 – 11:30 – LGTBQIA+

See the invitation for more information or register.

TGCR VOAD Disaster Tabletop Exercise

Disaster Tabletop Exercise 
May 11, 2022
8:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Registration from 8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
United Way, 50 Waugh Drive

This upcoming disaster tabletop exercise will give us an opportunity to assess our response and recovery efforts. For the first time, the tabletop exercise will allow us to walk through the response phase and how we can have a smooth transition into the long-term recovery phase.  AccuWeather is predicting an active 2022 hurricane season. Our region has been extremely fortunate; however, we all know, it is just a matter of time. Being prepared and informed helps you and everyone around you. I hope that you plan to join us on May 11th, so that we can better organize in our unified efforts to assist those impacted by disasters.

Participating can help you or your organization mobilize when a disaster strikes and understand your organization’s role as a VOAD and LTRC member. Through our joined forces, we can better promote preparedness and safety.  To aid in our ability to prepare for this event, please use this link to note your attendance.