New organization focuses on disaster relief in the Panhandle

New organization focuses on disaster relief in the Panhandle

Amarillo, TX - A new organization dedicated to helping the Panhandle area with disaster relief met for the first time Monday afternoon in Amarillo.

The Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is made up of 18 volunteer groups from across the Panhandle. Some of the groups involved include churches, the Department of Public Safety, the Salvation Army and the High Plains Food Bank. All 18 groups have the same goal -- to come together as a team if a natural disaster strikes the panhandle.

"VOAD works on cooperation, collaboration and communication so that we as agencies can work together when a disaster comes," said Salvation Army Major Harvey Johnson.

The organization will respond to disasters like wildfires and tornadoes.

"At the scene of a disaster, it's chaos," said Zack Wilson, VOAD president and the executive director of the High Plains Food Bank. "Law enforcement is working on recovery, and not necessarily on the resources. That's where the private sector comes in. We're creating an organization to help streamline all of donations management and resources if a disaster should strike our area. It's something that emergency management and law enforcement can call on in a time of disaster and members of this organization can then help provide whatever is needed."

VOAD will help organizations avoid duplicating efforts in some areas while making sure all needs are met. The organization will also meet quarterly for training to prepare for different types of responses in the event of a disaster.

VOAD is looking to incorporate as many volunteer groups and individuals as possible to help. If you would like to get involved, contact Zack Wilson at 806-374-8562.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10