Sep 18, 2008

I Have To Vent

Okay, I probably shouldn't do this, but I might pull my hair out if I don't get this off my chest. I started last Friday going through the process to become a volunteer at Hurrican Ike shelters for the local chapter of a larger humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. I completed their application and background check and submitted everything to them. On Sunday I received an email stating they received my background clearance. Then I sent an email with the shifts I could work this week. Here it is Thursday afternoon and all I've received from them is a lot of run around, major disorganization and frustration. Every day is something else that is preventing me from volunteering this week. I think I've called them at least three to four times every day leaving voicemail and messages with my name and phone number for someone to call me back with the information I need or the next step because when you call no one knows anything if you actually get a human being and don't get transferred to voice mail of someone who's not even in the office that day. The final instruction I received this afternoon was to keep checking the website periodically tonight (so I guess I don't have a life!) for the time and location for the orientation trainings tomorrow and instructions for how to sign up because they don't know when they are yet and don't know how I'll have to sign up for them yet. Auugghh! I wanted to volunteer with them this week so I could maybe volunteer with my church in Hurricane Ike affected areas next week. Of course, my plans are not always God's plans and it will all work out for His glory in the end and I need help remembering that. So please pray for me.


Anonymous said...

Bureaucracy at its best. I’m sorry that they are making you go through all of this stress for something that you are trying to do to help others.

dcpeg said...

Having worked (pretty sure) for the organization in question, I sympathize - with a catch.

Can't tell you how many phonecalls I took during Hurricane Hugo from carpenters and other "entreprenuers" wanting to be sent down there - not to volunteer, mind you. Of coure, there are sincere folk like yourself who want to help, but it's not simply a matter of blood, sweat and tears. Disaster relief is highly organized - or tries to be - out of necessity. There are too many people who want to take advantage of victims and relief organizations and there is never enough money to take care of everyone and everything.

My suggestion is once the crisis has passed, get some specific training from the organization and get on their roster of volunteers. You may have to respond to some not so glamorous local disasters before you're sent into the field, but it's important that you get your feet wet before you get into a huge disaster like Ike.

Don't give up! This work can be so rewarding especially if you know what you're doing and if you don't mind hardship. Living conditions for volunteers are seldom better than those for victims.