Northeastern Conference Adventist Community Services (ACS) sponsored a pilot warehouse operations class in Hamden, Connecticut on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. Potomac Conference ASC director Bob Mitchell, and a certified instructor with over 30 years of experience working with ACS, taught the course he developed with a curriculum committee. Mario Augustave, ACS and Disaster Response (DR) ministry director for the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and W. Derrick Lea, ACS North American Division (NAD) director ) were also presenters.
Sixty-five attendees from three local conferences, Northeast, Greater New York and Southern New England, attended the eight-hour PowerPoint class hosted by Mount Zion Seventh-day Adventist Church. The pilot training class is designed to equip local conference ACS DR ministry teams with warehouse skills to respond in an emergency; these include the assessment of suitable personnel, safety rules, inspection and use of forklifts. Participants also learned about cultivating a culture of service, managing donations, and distributing donated goods and in-kind gifts. Participants who have successfully completed the Warehouse Operations course will receive a certificate.
NAD ACS is a founding member of the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) which assists the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in disasters. Warehouse operations training meets FEMA standards, Mitchell said. Trained volunteers serve and train others within their local communities and other NAD areas to respond to emergencies like the recent Colorado wildfires.
“The effort was a great success,” said Lea, who also leads disaster response for the division.
The host church has functional storage space, a gym and three loading docks, which the ACS North East Director plans to use as a warehouse that will benefit the region as that they continue to improve the structure to use, said Lea. He hopes these types of efforts will become the norm in the future as we “look forward to supporting local conferences working together to benefit the communities in which we live, worship and work.”