13 September 2018  |  In a major disaster such as the hurricane approaching the Atlantic coast of the United States today, the denomination’s community service agency operates under standing agreements with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross. Adventist Community Services (ACS) is a recognized nonprofit, faith-based disaster response organization.

Derrick Lea, the disaster response coordinator for ACS, began regular coordination phone conferences with the local conference ACS leaders in the Southern Union Conference and the Columbia Union Conference, as well as inter-agency phone conferences with the American Red Cross and FEMA national coordinators to prepare for the destruction that may result when the hurricane comes ashore Thursday night and Friday morning.

ACS volunteers trained in disaster assessment will help communities in identify emergency needs and beginning recovery efforts. Some Adventist facilities may be used by the Red Cross to house emergency shelters. A key activity that ACS often undertakes during disasters is to operate warehouses where truckloads of donated goods are unloaded and inventoried, then made available to meet specific needs in neighborhoods hit by a disaster. These supplies often include bottled water, food, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items, as well as blankets, coats, etc.

ACS often asks local churches across a wide region near a disaster area to receive donated goods from local residents and pack trucks. In the areas hit by a disaster, ACS also operate emergency distribution centers to make supplies available to families in need.