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Disaster Response Feeding Unit Activated to Assist in Mass Vaccination Event in Richmond

Published: 1/21/21 at 12:00pm.

As the Covid-19 vaccine is becoming available to individuals across the Commonwealth of Virginia, Disaster Response (DR) volunteers from the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) are doing their part to take care of the medical and emergency personnel who are administering the immunizations.

Starting Tuesday, January 19, the Henrico County Health Department began a large-scale vaccination clinic for those currently eligible, held at the Richmond Raceway. The clinic will likely operate for at least six to eight weeks, depending upon supply and demand. BGAV’s Disaster Response volunteers are serving meals to the healthcare workers, security and emergency management personnel, and other critical workers on site at the clinic.

For more than 50 years BGAV DR has helped communities in need during times of crisis, working with partners in those communities and local/state government agencies. “Because we have worked closely with local agencies and established ourselves as reliable partners in the past, they trust us to join them for important responses like this one,” explains Glenn Maddox, BGAV’s National Missions Director.

“Henrico County officials were elated when they learned the BGAV would handle the meals for the next several weeks, enabling them to focus solely on delivering the shots,” commented Executive Director, John Upton. “I am very grateful for the trusted relationships our DR staff has built with local authorities.”

“Our mission is to mobilize volunteers to meet human needs after a disaster,” Maddox added. “In this case, we are providing meals to the people who have the specialized skills to meet the specific need of the community, enabling them to do their jobs better.” He added that this response will also allow implementation and evaluation of the Covid-19 protocols they developed for disaster response at the beginning of the pandemic, and it will provide hands-on training for some new DR volunteers.

BGAV’s DR volunteers come from all kinds of backgrounds and have varied skills and abilities—some have experience in food service or other related fields, and some have no training at all until they do the work—but all come with a desire and willingness to serve others. They come to these roles from many different BGAV churches, working together in the name of Christ.

Within a few hours of their initial callout, more than 40 individuals signed up to serve, and more are adding their names to the list every day. “We are seeing people who have been wanting to ‘do something’ for some time,” said Maddox, “… people who have felt powerless in the face of the pandemic and have been aching to do something to offer hope to people who are struggling.”

He explained that typically, disaster response involves a large group of people who aren’t affected by the disaster coming together to help others who are—and they travel to a different location. During the pandemic, however, large groups of assembled volunteers aren’t advisable, and this disaster has touched everyone in our area. “I’m glad we can be a part of providing this essential service to our community while also offering an opportunity for individuals and churches to offer hope in this critical way.”

If you would like to sign up to work at this event or you’ve ever felt intrigued by the Disaster Response ministry, please take this opportunity to complete this form and be trained as a feeding volunteer—even if for only a day. The form is applicable to this feeding ministry event whether or not you are already a trained volunteer.