FRAMINGHAM – Several of the members of Massachusetts Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MA VOAD) met at the Framingham MEMA Bunker this week discussing work done and needed revolving around the tornado that recently went through downtown Revere. They were also reviewing organizational and leadership changes.
VOADs are non-profits and churches that coordinate in disaster preparation, recovery and response and also work with state and federal emergency management. While emergency management mainly focuses on infrastructure, they coordinate with the VOAD volunteers to help individuals. MA VOAD members include the Red Cross, United Way, Boston Cares, Salvation Army, HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Care, IFAW, Southern Baptists Disaster Relief, Catholic Charites, Churches of Scientology Disaster Response, Christian Reform World Relief, Tzu Chi Foundation, Feeding America, Greater Boston Food Bank, Central Mass. DART, Self Help Inc., Civil Air Patrol, Americares, Team Rubicon, Methodists, Lutherands, All Hands Volunteers, Mennonite Disaster Services, Adventists Community Services, North American Mission Board and probably a few others that are all listed on the www.massvoad.org website that contains a lot of disaster preparation and response information.
Below are the minutes to the August 13th meeting. MA VOAD also invites any non-profit interested in disasater relief to contact and join them. We also urge more communities to work with local emergency management to form Communities Organizations Active in Disaster as the local communities are the first responders during disaster.
MA VOAD Meeting Minutes – August 13, 2014
Nancy Smalzel – FEMA
Doug Forbes – MEMA
Larry Rosenberg – Red Cross
Paul Leslie – Salvation Army, VOAD Vice Chair
Steve Napoli – Red Cross, VOAD Chair
Ned Polan – HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Care
Sara Hamilton – Boston Cares, VOAD Secretary
On the phone:
Tracy Rogers – Western Mass COAD
Carly Bruder – CNCS
Paul Briggs – Team Rubicon
Ariel Low – AmeriCares
Removing from agenda: Aid Matrix, state planning decided need to discuss more before discussing with us. Would use during activation during disaster. Hopefully on agenda next month or month after. This has to do with gathering and getting donations out to people in need.
Revere Tornado Updates:
Steve Napoli: Tornado in Revere last month, Red Cross and Salvation Army were active, identified a number of needs around debris removal and clean up. 211 opened up lines. Worked with Team Rubicon to go out and do some of that work – able to do some, some still pending, some outside of scope of our ability.
Paul Leslie: For some of the requests that need more specialized assistance, refer to the city fund for possible financial assistance. Beyond that can look at Salvation Army and other agencies for potential funds.
SN: Red Cross has opened some financial cases, mostly for food and such. Even if we can’t have member agency meet specific need we still want to capture and point folks in some direction – landlord, city, fund, etc.
Paul Briggs: Weekend after tornado able to take 6 of the 211 list work orders, completed additional 5 not on 211 list (found while walking around neighborhood). 4 of the 211 were completed by owners, 4 too technical, and additional 4 work orders (3 on 211) trying to knock on Sat 23. Leaves 2 work orders unknown (204 beech st – told by daughter of home owner would connect, didn’t) & Ambrose st. still determining if its within the scope of TR.
SN: total came in was about 17 requests. majority taken care of or handled by homeowners.
This was ad-hoc system here, do you think something like crisis clean up would be helpful?
PB: would be beneficial to have something more like a ticket in an IT structure. no way to mark follow up within that form.
SN: CC would do something like that, we should take a more serious look at that maybe for the next event. Thank you Paul for you and your organizations hard work, we’ll touch base to make sure those needs are met.
Disaster Volunteer Guide – Boston Cares
Sara Hamilton: Boston Cares has been working on creating a guide to assist potential volunteers in affiliating with organizations in advance of a disaster, something to help them navigate the disaster volunteer field. The draft of the guide was sent out with the meeting agenda for organizations to review. We have received a few comments that we will integrate before printing – if anyone else has feedback or edits they’d like to provide please do so to Sara Hamilton at email@example.com by Friday, August 15. Once finalized and printed, Boston Cares will share the resource with VOAD organizations.
Jason not on the phone to discuss
SN: Gov Patrick had offered up spaces, but that has changed. MA will no longer be receiving any of those children, however I have talked with Arlene Magoon about how a number of these children who have been processed have already come to New England (Maine and VT VOADS working around it) these are folks who have been granted political asylum and sent to live with their families. When sent here, come with clothes on their back and that’s it. Believe this was to inform us of this situation and see if the VOAD would be able to help. We’ll reach out to Jason and Arlene to touch base and see what other VOADs are doing.
Aid Matrix – skipping until MEMA ready to discuss, This is a computer program to organize getting donations out to the right people in need)
Discussion of Chairman Role
SN: looking over the bylaws, looks like we may not need to edit. Officer terms supposed to be Jan – Dec, but Paul and Steve both started on a June or July cycle, Sara started in January.
Proposal if in agreement: vote today to keep current board and have nominations for new term, new board back on track with bylaws to begin Jan 2015. May have same slate can vote for. Do we have a motion to keep the current slate and return to the stated schedule for Jan 2015?
Larry Rosenberg: I’ll make that motion
Ned Polan: I’ll second the motion
Attendees at 13 Aug 2014 meeting.