St. Vincent de Paul, Sinclair partner to aid tornado volunteers

Published: Wednesday, June 05, 2019 @ 1:00 AM

St. Vincent de Paul and Sinclair have teamed up to coordinate tornado volunteers.
St. Vincent de Paul and Sinclair have teamed up to coordinate tornado volunteers.

For Montgomery County residents looking to help those impacted by last week’s tornadoes, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why St. Vincent de Paul has set up a Volunteer Reception Center at Sinclair Community College to connect volunteers to those who need help.

“We’re trying to capture spontaneous volunteers who don’t know where to go,” manager of ministry formation with St. Vincent de Paul Alexander Mingus said. “We want to take that initial desire that people have to help and connect them with someone who wants help farther down the road.”

Many area agencies and communities have had their immediate needs satisfied, but Mingus said that might not be the case in a few weeks.

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“We are mostly thinking of mid- to long-term. People know what they need tomorrow, but not necessarily a week from now,” Mingus said.

The VRC is also open to agencies or companies that have a need for more help, and can connect them with skilled volunteers.

“We have had close to 150 people come in,” Mingus said. “When they come in, we register them and ask about any qualifications or skills so we can connect them with someone who may need their help further down the road.”

Mingus urges those looking to help to visit the VRC at 220 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. The VRC is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

“We don’t know where we will be in a week,” Mingus said. “But we can point them in the right direction.”

Finding help can become complicated, said Laura Mercer, coordinator of Sinclair’s disaster response.

“It’s critically important that we get volunteers registered so we know who they are, what they’re capable of and what they’re interests are so we can use them for the long term,” she said.