19. Non-Emergency Volunteering

Over the past two years I’ve spoken about disaster assignments that ARES members might consider taking with such served agencies as the American Red Cross, county emergency management agencies, local health districts, humane societies, etc. But ARES members who have the time might also consider some non-emergency assignments with these emergency response agencies.

One advantage associated with pulling volunteer work shifts at served agencies is that agency staff begin to view you as “one of us” rather than “one of them”.  Volunteers in the “us” category will tend to receive more important disaster assignments because you will have built up a measure of trust by doing routine jobs with little glory attached to them. For example, this afternoon I spent ninety minutes mowing the lawn at my local Red Cross office, which cannot afford to hire someone for that purpose.

Occasionally served agencies offer benefits to their registered volunteers. In Clark County the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP, www.unitedseniorservices.org , offers some mileage reimbursement and liability insurance for local government or non-profit volunteers aged fifty-five or older. RSVP also operates programs in Darke, Miami and Shelby Counties. Their website is: www.rsvpwestcentralohio.org .