Tag: Hurricane

Convoy of Hope prepares for above-normal hurricane season

June 1 marks the first day of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are expecting an above-normal hurricane season this year. They predict there will be 13 to 19 named storms, 3 to 6 of which might develop into major hurricanes. 

When not responding to an active disaster, Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team is constantly preparing and training. This is especially important in light of the expectation that the new hurricane season will be more active than normal. We are committed to helping as many as we can for as long as we can. 

“Even though our Disaster Services teams have been responding to the COVID-19 crisis for the last three months, we’re still prepared to respond to the forecasted busy season,” Convoy of Hope Senior Director of U.S. Disaster Services Stacy Lamb says. “We’re always ready to respond as needed.”

While disaster relief organizations prepare, it’s important for you and your family to be prepared, too. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has several preparedness resources available at ready.gov/hurricanes. It’s important to create a plan with your family, gather supplies, and make sure you can receive all the appropriate warnings and alerts. 

You can follow Convoy of Hope on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on all our responses. 

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Program Updates

Convoy of Hope’s trained volunteers are paving the way for a response to Dorian

After a close brush with Hurricane Irma, a group of passionate Floridians reached out to Convoy of Hope for help. Their community had been spared the brunt of the storm, but their drive to help survivors was galvanized. What they wanted from Convoy of Hope was not food or flood buckets. They wanted knowledge.

Within a short time, Convoy of Hope staff had trained 25 individuals in how to respond to local emergencies and disasters. Whether it was helping a neighbor when their house burned down or preparing for a major disaster like Hurricane Dorian, these individuals wanted to make sure that would be prepared should the worst happen.

At the training, Convoy of Hope staff instructed courses on disaster preparedness, assessing damage, relief distribution, and the cleanup processes. In addition to instruction about directly responding to disasters, attendees learned how to reach out to their local governments so they would be included in the master response plan for their area.

When it was announced that Florida would be directly in the path of Hurricane Dorian, members of this group of trained responders reached out to Convoy of Hope. On Saturday, a truck of supplies will be delivered to help resource first responders and to have immediate supplies for them to distribute to those affected by the storm.

Training a network of volunteers is a vital part of Convoy’s master plan of equipping local communities — not only with product and knowledge of our staff, but with the ability to care for their community when Convoy of Hope is not present.

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Disaster Services

How Hurricane Katrina Changed Everything

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast and decimated everything in its path, everything changed. For our nation, seldom before had we seen such devastation — streets became rivers, homes were washed away, and more than 1,000 people lost their lives. The way groups responded to disasters changed everywhere, too, and that included Convoy of Hope.

As Katrina gained intensity in the Gulf of Mexico, it was clear the storm would be bad. But no one expected the wide-reaching damage Katrina would inflict. The morning after the hurricane made landfall, Convoy of Hope employees arrived at headquarters to find every phone ringing off their hooks. Convoy was a much smaller organization in 2005, with a staff of only 50 people. It was clear that this response was an “all-hands on deck” situation. 

Family and friends of staff members arrived to help, and phone banks were set up on folding tables in every available space. Volunteers answered phone calls all day, every day, for weeks. Calls came in from volunteers, donors, people needing help, churches asking for assistance, and even those in search of lost relatives.The answering machine crashed immediately, leading us to take messages on paper and run them around the building to the right person.

Staff from across departments were deployed to Mississippi and Louisiana to assist our two-person Disaster Services team. Before this time, we had never had more than one point of distribution (POD) running at a time. Now, we had several scattered throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.

This response changed Convoy of Hope in fundamental ways. Systematically, Convoy of Hope was recreated. Longtime Convoy staff member Randy Rich reflected on a time during the response when the team took a moment from the hustle and bustle. “We sat down and reinvented Convoy on a whiteboard,” he said. “The team updated processes for disaster response and developed additional roles that new staff or volunteers would fill.”

As our disaster response team grew, so did our ability to help others. Our response to Hurricane Katrina lasted for two years. Nearly 1,000 truckloads of relief supplies were delivered and distributed to families in need. For the next four years, we held Community Events across the Gulf Coast, specifically helping areas affected by Katrina. 

In our 25 years of existence, Convoy of Hope has responded to more than 400 disasters around the world. The people we met and the lessons we learned during Katrina redefined the way we would respond to disasters from then on. But the one thing that has never changed is the incredible importance of kindness and support from people like you. We couldn’t have served so many without the thousands of phone calls, mass amounts of volunteers, and incredible donors that saw those in need and offered their help.

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Disaster Services / Program Updates / Volunteering