Northeastern Conference Adventist Community Services (ACS) sponsored a pilot class in warehouse operations in Hamden, Connecticut, United States, on Sunday, January 23, 2022.
Bob Mitchell, the Potomac Conference ACS director, and a certified instructor with more than 30 years of experience working with ACS, taught the course that he developed with a curriculum committee. Mario Augustave, director of ACS and the disaster response (DR) ministry for the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and W. Derrick Lea, North American Division (NAD) ACS director, were also presenters.
Sixty-five participants from three local conferences, Northeastern, Greater New York, and Southern New England, attended the eight-hour class hosted by the Mount Zion Seventh-day Adventist Church. The pilot training class is designed to equip the local conference ACS DR ministry teams with warehouse skills to respond in an emergency. These include the assessment of adequate staffing; rules of safety; inspection; and operation of forklifts. Participants also learned how to cultivate a culture of service, manage donations, and distribute donated goods and in-kind gifts. Those who successfully completed the warehouse operations course will receive a certificate.
NAD ACS is a founding member of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), which assists the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in disaster response. The warehouse operations training aligns with FEMA standards, Mitchell said. Trained volunteers serve and train others within their local communities and other areas within the NAD territory to respond to emergencies, such as the recent wildfires in Colorado.
“The effort was a major success,” Lea, who also directs disaster response for NAD, said.
The host church has a functioning warehouse space, a gym, and three loading docks, which Northeastern ACS director plans to use as a warehouse that will benefit the region as they continue to enhance the structure for use, Lea explained. He hopes these types of efforts will be the norm in the future as “[we] look forward to supporting local conferences working together for the benefit of the communities in which we live, worship, and work.”