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Churches needed to serve as safer place shelters during hurricanes, natural disasters

VOAD seeks volunteers churches to serve as safer places.
VOAD seeks volunteers churches to serve as safer places.(WTVY)
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 5:23 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - One Houston County organization is seeking safer places for vulnerable residents, in case a hurricane or tropical storm wreaks havoc.

“Should we have another Hurricane Michael or Hurricane Irma come through the area, we’re going to have a lot of evacuees come through,” chair of the Houston County Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster Gary Griffin said.

VOAD is an association of nonprofits and others who provide resources and emergency response during natural disasters. Griffin says there are a handful of churches who currently volunteer as shelters during bad weather. But he says more are needed.

“If we do not have the manpower and the facilities, once we cap out for those churches that do partner with us, we’re going to have to send everyone north of us to where they can seek better shelter,” Griffin said.

Given the coronavirus pandemic and CDC guidelines, VOAD is seeking buildings and shelters with extra room, so that people who need to seek shelter can have a safe place without having to fear being in close contact with others. According to Griffin, there is no certain criteria that must be met before an application is filled.

“As long as you have restrooms, large amounts of space, and the volunteers, we can use what you’ve got,” Griffin said.

Once the church or organization has applied, Griffin says the next step is simple.

“What we’re going to do is set up a zoom meeting with all the organizational leaders. We have all the paperwork and documentation and we’ll also provide the PPE supplies for all your volunteers,” Griffin said.

If your church or organization is interested in being a safer place, you can call Griffin at 334-440-6372. You can also email him at gary@hcvoad.org

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