Rio Texas Early Response Teams, as well as ERT’s from around the country, continue to descend upon the coastal bend to clean up after the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.
Teams have been providing temporary repairs for roofs using tarps and plywood. They have also been boarding up windows, removing fallen trees and cleaning up debris. According to Director of Ministries for the Coastal Bend District Linda Morrow, teams working out of Corpus Christi have worked on 77 households in Woodsboro, Refugio, Gregory, Bayside, Rockport, and Ingleside. They have also handed out 300 flood buckets. Work also continues in other areas centered out of hubs in Victoria and Cathedral Oaks Retreat Center in Weimar.
Volunteer teams have come from San Antonio, Boerne, Kerrville, San Marcos, Marble Falls, Austin, Le Feria, Canyon Lake, and McAllen. Additional teams have come from other annual conferences including Central Texas, North Texas, Great Plains, Northern Illinois, Missouri, and Desert Southwest.
As Early Responders continue to be trained and deployed, conference leaders are beginning to plan for long-term recovery efforts. Once early responders fulfill immediate needs and stabilize homes to protect against further damage, teams will be needed for the long rebuilding process. This will entail the mobilization of volunteers through the Rio Texas Volunteers in Mission program.
In the next phase, Rio Texas Volunteers In Mission (VIM) leadership teams will need to work with local churches to manage and develop the long term partnerships and relationships needed for survivors to become self-sufficient. VIM volunteers are not required to complete the extensive, day-long training needed by early responders. Only the team leaders need to attend a formal training. Team members receive their information and necessary training from the team leader.
The Conference Volunteers in Mission Team is now arranging for team leader training throughout the annual conference. The first training will be hosted by the Hill Country District on September 23 from 9:00 am -3:30 pm at First UMC, Johnson City.
Rio Texas Volunteers in Mission is also looking for churches willing to host future trainings. If your church is interested please contact Frank Rojas at firstname.lastname@example.org