CDS volunteers care for children during active tornado season

By Michael Scalzi

During March through the end of May, Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers provided care centers for children in what has become the most active tornado season in the United States since 2017.

Recent requests to provide volunteers have been for short-term deployments to resource centers, where families can seek relief and recovery assistance from multiple private, nonprofit, and government agencies. CDS volunteers are located throughout the US but for these types of short-term deployments, volunteers are first sought from areas local to the disaster.

Local volunteers can respond more rapidly, and have the opportunity to serve neighbors in their own vicinity while reducing the cost of the deployment. If local volunteers are not available, CDS will draw on volunteers from greater distances.

In March, CDS volunteers from Ohio deployed to Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) in Lakeview and Russells Point, Ohio, following a series of tornadoes that included one category EF3 that killed three people.

A child in the care of Children’s Disaster Services at a center in Lakeview, Ohio, following tornadoes. Photo by Pat Krabacher

Following additional tornadoes in Iowa late in April, CDS was asked to provide volunteers for a MARC held on May 4-5 in Minden, Iowa. Volunteers from Ankeny, Iowa, less than a two-hour drive from Minden, were called to attend. CDS was delighted that one of those volunteers had recently taken a CDS training in Ankeny and subsequently received her new CDS volunteer certification.

Overnight between May 7 and 8, a series of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms with hail affected several areas of Iron County, Mo. A MARC was set up on May 29, to which CDS volunteers living in Missouri responded.

The total number of children served during this spring tornado season, as of the end of May, has been 34, with 13 CDS volunteers attending.

The next CDS deployment will be to Greenfield, Iowa, on June 2-3, where CDS volunteers will participate at a MARC operated by the Red Cross.

– Michael Scalzi is program assistant for Children’s Disaster Services, a program within Brethren Disaster Ministries. Find out more at www.brethren.org/cds.


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