Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully the Frequently Asked Questions below will help you better understand what we are doing and what it will be like to serve with us in North Alabama.
If you have been on many trips before, please read the FAQs anyway. In disaster ministry, conditions are continually changing, and information may be different now than it was six months ago (or even one month ago).
As always, we are grateful for your compassion and your choice to continue helping heal hearts and homes. We could not complete this work without volunteers.
- What type of work are you doing? Our work is almost entirely home repair and rebuilding. While it is now one (1) year past the April 27 tornadoes, we still have hundreds of home projects to complete. However, the initial cleanup is done, and our projects, for the most part, require persons with some experience and skill in construction work. Possible work projects could include roofing, flooring, hanging sheetrock, etc. Sometimes work projects involve plumbing or electrical work.
- Who do you help? Our goal is to help those who are not able to help themselves recover. The reasons for this are various, but at the end of the day, we hope that someone who would not otherwise recover will because of our efforts.
- When do we find out about our specific work assignments? Often you will not know your work assignment until you arrive. We have many volunteers blessing us with their time and efforts each month, and it is impossible to judge which projects will still need work in 30 days, much less in 6 months. Our coordinators will do their best to match your group with appropriate work, based on skill levels. Most of our work involves new construction. Approximately 2 weeks before your arrival, you will receive a call from the Volunteer Coordinator to review the team skills listed on the Skill Sheet. At that time, it would be good to have your phone numbers of the skilled members of your Construction Team. Depending on your skills, we can possibly know what you will be doing a few weeks out. However, that is not always the case. You may be completing a job prior teams have started. Building inspections and weather are also factors.
- Do we need to bring tools? Most skilled persons prefer to use their own tools. However, we can provide tools for your use in most areas. If possible, it is a good idea for the team to bring a little extra money to purchase incidental items they find may be needed on the jobsite (i.e. paint rollers, saw blades, etc.) at local Lowe’s, Home Depot or Walmart.
- What is a skilled volunteer? A skilled volunteer can be anyone from a good handyman or woman to a licensed professional. If you can be handed a work assignment and take it on without supervision, you are skilled.
- Does everyone on the team need to be skilled? No. We ask to have a 1:4 ratio for skilled to non-skilled. Because we are working on so many projects at any given time, we do not have the staff to provide supervision at each worksite. It is the skilled people on your team that will need to direct the work of the general helpers. Without the skilled people, your general helpers will be left without supervision and leadership, which will not make for an efficient or enjoyable trip.
- How many hours do we work? Most teams leave between 7:30-8:00 a.m. and return around 4:30-5:30 p.m.
- Where do we stay? Our housing varies in each area, and is usually a local church. Your local volunteer coordinator will contact you to give you details on the housing in that area, which will be assigned by group totals and availability.
- Will we be coming back to housing for lunch? No, you will need to pack a lunch as work sites are sometimes quiet a distance from the housing site. You will most likely prepare your own lunches at your housing site.
- Will we work on Sundays? No. We do not send teams into the field on Sundays. This is not so much a ‘legalistic’ decision as a practical one. Our site coordinators work very hard all week, and they need at least a few hours of down time. When teams are out in the field, the site coordinators have to be ‘on duty,’ in case something is needed or needs immediate attention. On Sundays, we are not ‘on duty.’
- How long should we plan to be there? We being on Sunday afternoon and end on Saturday morning (or Friday evening if you prefer). This is advantageous for a number of logistical reasons, and also creates some continuity to the flow of life in our work sites. This also allows our Site Coordinators to have a day of rest and worship as well as to prepare for incoming teams. We are also accepting local (in-conference) teams to work on Saturdays.
- How do we schedule a trip? ALL trips must be scheduled through the North Alabama Conference Disaster Recovery Team, located in Birmingham, Alabama. Having one scheduling location provides continuity and ensures faster response. You can register by visiting www.rebuildnorthalabama.org, calling 205-226-7909, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be asked to fill out a short form, and will be scheduled within 3 days if we have availability.
- Can youth participate? We encourage youth down to 14 to participate under certain conditions described in our Safe Sanctuary Policy. You can find a copy of this policy in our Team Guidebook. We do not have ‘youth specific’ work, so youth will be assigned the same projects as adults. This should be taken into consideration before scheduling.
- What costs are involved? The fee for each volunteer is $100 per person per week. Many teams also wish to bring money to donate toward building materials.
- How can we get more information? You can get more info by visiting our website at www.rebuildnorthalabama.org. There you will find calendars for the worksites, links to news and updates and other information about what we are doing.
For answers to more questions, please call our Volunteer Coordinator at 205-226-7909.