How do I get to an out-of-state disaster site?
Vans are used for groups of 24 or less. For groups larger than 24, either a 35, 45 or 54 passenger bus is used.
What about meals?
In transit, meals are the responsibility of each individual. Stops are made approximately every two hours to stretch legs, grab a snack or sandwich and use restroom facilities. On site, all meals will be provided.
Where will I sleep?
In transit, a motel will be used for overnight stays. On site, host provided housing (ie tents, dorms, private houses) will be utilized.
Will there be showers?
In all instances, there will be showers. And in most instances, hot water will be available.
What about bathroom facilities?
In nearly all instances, indoor flush facilities will be available at the volunteer village.
What should I pack?
Since needs change by trip, volunteers receive a list of what to pack before the trip.
How much will it cost up front?
If traveling by van, the cost is $150. If by bus, the cost is $300. All applications must be accompanied by full payment.
How much will it cost on site?
The cost on site my vary depending on whether the group goes out to dinner some evening.
How long is the trip?
If traveling by van, the trip can last for up to 12 hours per day with rotating drivers. If by bus, 10 hours per day is the max. Bus trips are frequently two day trips with up to 10 hours per day on the road. The trip to West Virginia is approx. 6-7 hours.
Will there be a break on the bus or van?
There will be a stop approximately every two hours.
If it is a two day trip to the disaster site, where will we stay?
Lend A Hand will use a motel (ie. Best Western, Econolodge) with two to a room. A complimentary breakfast will be provided.
Do I need to bring any tools?
Tools will be provided. At the orientation session, the work that needs done will be described. From that, participants can decide if they have appropriate tools they can pack. Contractors typically bring their own. No large items like generators or compressors can be taken due to space and safety concerns.
What will the temperature(s) be?
Temperatures can range from 20° F to 100° F depending on location. The orientation session will provide specifics. Layering is always the best way to prepare.
I have limited skills with tools, etc. Will there really be meaningful work for me?
You will be assigned to a work crew (based on your Skills Inventory and Interest Survey). There, you will be taught by the crew chief who will be a skilled trades person.
I’ve heard that the victims need a listening ear. Is there information available on how to be a good listener?
There are usually individuals on the trip who specialize in sensitivity training and listening skills. They will share pointers with the volunteers. A brochure about how to be a good listener will also be available.
I have dietary restrictions? Can I still participate?
Yes, special diets will be honored where possible. If the volunteer has certain dietary needs (ie. soy milk), he/she should pack what is necessary for the week. Vegetarians must inform Lend A Hand ahead of the trip so proper preparations can be made.
I have physical restrictions? Can I still participate?
Remember, this is a disaster work site. Accommodations are not necessarily handicapped accessible. Certain conditions are beyond the control of Lend A Hand. There could be safety issues and other concerns. We will work with you to discuss your needs and restrictions.
I want to bring my younger child with me. Is that possible?
Due to current laws, LAH requires that volunteers be 18 or older
I’ve never done anything like this before. Is there a video or are there pictures as to what to expect?
Click here for photos of recent trips.
What if I become injured or ill?
A part of the registration form gives permission for treatment and asks for a copy of your health insurance card. Area hospitals are identified and located before each trip. Followup with the volunteer’s primary care physician is encouraged.
Do I have to be a Presbyterian to participate?
No, you may participate no matter what your beliefs. Our volunteers have represented at least 20 different faiths.
I have difficulty sleeping. Can my sleeping needs be accommodated?
CPAP machines can be accommodated if electricity is available.. Ear plugs are available upon request.
What if I do a terrible job and mess up on my work site job?
Not to worry. The crew chief is there to provide guidance and assistance.
Describe a typical day at a disaster site.
- 6 to 6:30 AM– rise and shine
- 7:00 AM– breakfast and pack your lunch
- 8:00 AM– depart for the work site
- 4:00 PM– call it a day
- 4:30 to 6:00 PM– showers
- 6:15 to 7:00 PM– dinner
- after dinner is a time of sharing and devotions
- 10:00 PM– lights out
What is a safe amount of money I should bring along?
We usually go out to dinner to a local restaurant one evening. With that in mind, $50 should be sufficient.
Tell me about orientation. Orientation is provided for bus trips only. Van trips usually consist of returning volunteers. Orientation dates and times will be provided. The session usually last approximately 1.5 hours and consists of slides or a Powerpoint presentation, what to pack (one suitcase, one carry-on and one tool bag), where the group will stay overnight (if needed), the work to be done, meals and food requirements and reminders about camera, razor and phone chargers, etc.