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'Don't wait until disaster' | Salvation Army introducing volunteer training for Arkansans

The Salvation Army created the Emergency Disaster Services training in response to the March 31 tornado, allowing Arkansans to be a part of a solution.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Salvation Army is known for its response and outreach, as well as expanding efforts to make a difference in the community.

After the March 31st tornado tore through parts of central Arkansas, the Salvation Army responded to hard-hit areas where damage piled on. 

As the workload grew, the number of Arkansans wanting to join them in their efforts began to grow as well.

On Saturday, June 17th the Salvation Army will be offering the required training for those looking to be a part of the solution.

“It’s an effort to really engage some of those folks who during the tornado wanted to step up in serve with the Salvation Army,” said Bill Mockabee, Area Commander.

Emergency Disaster Services training is a new step people can take towards becoming a part of the solution. This training is required by anyone wanting to become a volunteer with the Salvation Army.

The training teaches soon-to-be volunteers about the Salvation Army, what it means to serve during a disaster, and the essential products a volunteer may need.

“Also, the emotional and spiritual care and making sure that you take care of yourself, while you're out at a disaster,” Mockabee added.

According to Mockabee, the emergency disaster service training was born out of a need.

“After the tornado, we had a lot of calls from people who really wanted to give back, wanted to help,” Mockabee explained. “But, because they hadn't taken the training, they weren't able to help serve.”

During a disaster, the canteen and the food service is the Salvation Army's main point of focus. Their efforts in the aftermath of the tornado haven't stopped yet.

“We are still responding to the tornado, working with different grants to get people rehoused quickly,” Mockabee said. “We're continuing to monitor and work with other partners to see what those long-term needs are going to be and where we can fill the gaps.”

Mockabee said that if someone wants to help, this training is the starting point,

“This training creates a workflow for volunteers,” Mockabee said. “You can actually go through the training, get the credentials that are needed.”

Once the training is completed, volunteers can lend a hand anytime.

“They can be involved with the Salvation Army year-round, it's not just a one-time deal,” Mockabee said. “Don't wait until disaster, you can start to really shape responses to disasters, shape responses to community needs all by being involved all year.”

In the summer months, the Salvation Army’s canteen is especially important to their outreach.

The emergency disaster services training will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 17th, and is completely free. If interested, registering for the training is required. Click here to register.

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