COVID-19 changed disaster response; won’t keep Auburndale volunteers from doing relief work  

Big hearts are working out of a small warehouse in Auburndale. On Thursday, as Hurricane Laura battered the Texas/Louisiana coast, volunteers packed relief supplies that could be sent to the affected areas as early as this weekend. Volunteers will follow.
“It’s really a mess, and we won’t know the extent of it for a while,” Dr. Ron Patterson, founder of Christian Disaster Response, told FOX 13.
Even though CDR has been doing relief work worldwide for more than three decades, the way they approach this disaster is unique.
“We have to do things a whole lot differently because of the virus,” he said.

Volunteers can expect to see storm victims living in tents because shelters will likely not open because social distancing would be nearly impossible.
Since hotel and motel rooms are expected to be scarce, CDR is looking for RV’s that its volunteers can use for onsite housing.
In response to COVID-19, CDR is also looking for donations of masks, gloves, gowns and other PPE.

Its donation policy has changed as well in an attempt to avoid viral contamination. CDR no longer accepts anything opened or used. Items must be in their original packaging.
Volunteers said the pandemic is not going to stop them from doing relief work in Texas and Louisiana.
“We’ll be cautious. We always are,” said Elaine Gerstman. “Whether there is a pandemic, or not.”
CDR is looking for donations and volunteers. For more information, call (863) 521-1818.