New Base Camp Model Means More Effective Ministry
Any deployment as a Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) volunteer is incredibly demanding – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Volunteers spend long hours each day providing meals, drinks, practical assistance and emotional and spiritual care to those caught in the chaos and tragedy of disaster. The Salvation Army’s new Base Camp model is limiting driving time and logistical challenges and helping volunteers like Linda from Granbury, Texas, perform at their best even under the most challenging circumstances.
Linda has been volunteering with The Salvation Army for more than 20 years and has served as a disaster volunteer since 2016. “In my early days on disaster deployment, we often drove an hour or longer to a hotel or Salvation Army shelter at the end of a long day of service. Traffic and roads are terrible after a disaster and few hotels were even open or had rooms available,” said Linda.
After large-scale disasters like hurricanes, the local infrastructure is often destroyed. Without power or water for multiple days and with no community facilities or communications, response efforts are particularly challenging. Fuel costs make travel expensive and debris on the roads causes blow outs and damage to response vehicles. The Salvation Army’s new Base Camp model provides volunteers and staff with all basic amenities in one location including accommodation for up to 30 people in mobile trailers and bunk houses, shower units, an area for meals and snacks, space for a field kitchen, onsite gas tank and even laundry facilities.
“The new Base Camp set up is wonderful! Less driving means more effective ministry,” said Linda. “It makes such a difference each morning not to have to drive from a hotel to the command post for the daily briefing and devotional. We now get to enjoy breakfast and prepare for the day right there on site. I personally like to have time in prayer and reflection. If I need to call someone and say, ‘Hey, pray for me today,’ it just gives me that time to prepare.
“At the end of the day, we now get to enjoy the camaraderie of the team while we’re cleaning, preparing and loading our truck,” said Linda. “It’s a wonderful experience boding and working with the other volunteers and sharing stories from the day of service.”
Linda and the Granbury EDS crew are typically one of the first deployed to any disaster as part of the Texas team. “One reason I love going in first is that I’m able to meet people impacted immediately after their lives have been turned upside down,” said Linda. “The opportunity to listen, hug and pray with them is so special in those first few days. It’s a challenging ministry, but I love it.”