Volunteers train with Salvation Army to help disaster victims

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. -- You usually hear emergency services are being provided in disaster situations by trained volunteers, but where do they get that training?

The Salvation Army is one place that prepares volunteers to jump into the middle of the fray, even for the hurricanes already hitting the U.S.

One class of 20 saw a need, and they responded.

"We really had a need to reach out and expand our volunteer base. The demands are so great," Major David Dalberg, Salvation Army, said.

They enrolled in a day-long class today to prepare themselves to deploy for two weeks with the Salvation Army.

"Two weeks is fine given what these people are going through down there. I don't think that's much,” Tom Murphy, a volunteer, said.

They are learning emergency disaster services, a training designed to help volunteers better help others, with a hot meal and cold drink from mobile canteens. It's often the first gesture of comfort extended to storm victims.

"There's a natural relationship that begins between the team that's volunteering and those directly affected by the event or first responders. It's what I call a disaster bond,” Dalberg said.

As Irma moves closer to devastating the state of Florida, teams are still needed in Texas where 20 mobile kitchens serve 1,000 meals a day to Hurricane Harvey emergency responders and to those left homeless.

Cindy Ayers knew this organization is the one she wanted to join.

"I looked on their website and saw one of their things was feeding people. I love to feed people, so I thought it would be a good mix,” she said.

At the end of the day, volunteers leave with the know-how of operating within a network of specialized equipment and facilities to respond to great need and to minister with compassion and care.

"The level of the class is excellent, the instruction is well organized, and people taking this class seem to be very highly motivated. They seem to be here for the right reasons. Everyone wants to help,” George Sachs, a volunteer, said.

"The most important resources we have is not our physical resources, but our human resources. Those coupled with the belief that God is really present with people, and He loves people in time of difficulty,” Dalberg said.

Another volunteer training will take place next Saturday from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Head to Salvation Army's website if you are ready to respond.