First Disaster Relief training of 2023 takes place in Phoenix

By Claudia Macdonald, Photos by Stella and Olivia Frasca | Feb 21, 2023

On Feb. 3-4, a total of 52 volunteers participated in Statewide Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Training.

The training took place at CalvaryPHX on Friday evening and all day Saturday. It was led for the first time by Don Vickers, who became director of Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief last year.

Blue Hat training — a specific training for unit leaders responsible for their teams — occurred on Friday.

On Saturday, volunteers were instructed in feeding/safe food, chainsaw, recovery, shower/laundry, and driver training. Participants learned about post-flood mold removal, preparation for home-rebuilding, finding valuables in homes affected by fire, and working as a team to safely operate chainsaws. A representative of STIHL was present to educate volunteers on maintaining chainsaw equipment.

Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has received a new shower trailer via a grant, Vickers announced.

The shower trailer, which includes showers, a laundry unit and water heater, will be used by both victims and volunteers at disaster sites. The trailer will be housed and also used at Avondale Baptist Church, which participates in IHELP, a network of churches that house the homeless on a rotating basis.

Vickers also announced Arizona Disaster Relief’s grant application for a second shower trailer has been approved.

At a separate event on Sunday, Feb. 11, Disaster Relief held a training session on chaplaincy and hospitality at First Southern Baptist Church of Glendale. Disaster Relief was contacted in case their services were needed during the Superbowl event. Vickers explained that while Disaster Relief doesn’t promote their services to events, they’re willing to consider opportunties when asked.

He encouraged Southern Baptists to follow the Arizona SBC Disaster Relief Facebook page for updates on where they’re currently serving.

Vickers started a prayer team for Disaster Relief in November. Team members are emailed prayer requests from the ministry and provided bracelets as reminders to pray.

For anyone who desires to learn more about Disaster Relief and its history, Vickers recommends visiting the AZSBC website page for Disaster Relief. There, you can also find the Volunteer page, complete the Volunteer Signup form, and receive a link for an online course entitled “Involving Southern Baptists in Disaster Relief,” which is a mandatory class for all volunteers. The next training sessions will be in Kingman and Yuma. If you have any questions, please email AZMN office at office@azsbc.org.

Claudia MacDonald, a freelance writer, is a member of First Southern Baptist Church at Sahuaro Ranch in Glendale.

N. John Keller, a freelance photographer, is a member of First Phoenix Church in Phoenix.

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