The Union College Red Cross Club was called into action to manage a multi-agency warehouse in Omaha for donations coming in from around the country for victims of the March 2018 flooding across Nebraska.
Union College Red Cross Club members, mostly international rescue and relief students and faculty, used their disaster management training to get the warehouse up and running, and will continue to manage volunteers and accept, organize and distribute donations over the coming weeks.
Rick Young, director of Union's IRR program and Disaster Relief Coordinator for Kansas-Nebraska Adventist Community Services, wanted to give his students the opportunity to put their classroom learning to work in a large-scale disaster situation.
"Our students help out with Red Cross calls on a regular basis, but those are usually structure fires that involve a single family or a few families," said Young. "The floods are impacting many hundreds of people across the state and managing a donations warehouse is something that our students learn how to do in the classroom, but don't always get to experience first-hand."
As donations began to pour in from local sources and around the country, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) asked the Nebraska Volunteers Organizations Active in Disasters (NEVOAD) to manage donations. Per an agreement with both NEMA and NEVOAD, Kansas-Nebraska Adventist Community Services is responsible for managing donated goods for a warehouse used jointly by many other agencies, including the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
About the Union College international rescue and relief program
The Union College international rescue and relief program prepares students for careers in public safety, community development, and the medical field. The program combines rigorous coursework and a variety of emergency and disaster management certifications with hands-on training such as wilderness survival and rescue in Colorado, and an overseas semester learning about global health in a developing nation. Learn more at ucollege.edu/irr.
— Ryan Teller is the director of Public Relations for Union College; This article originally appeared on the Union College website on March 18, 2019 and was updated with a needs list on March 25.