Active in Disaster

"We wanted to be an extension of CMS by providing the most clear and aligned communication out to our networks to best support CMS."

Director of Network Operations

Director of Network Operations

FORCLT

FORCLT

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We at FORCLT stepped into the VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) leadership role, so our thoughts were all over the place and hectic. What do we do to support food distribution, especially within our higher risk populations? How are we going to get our students what they need to learn remotely? How can we support virtual tutoring?

We are in the business of providing accurate information to a large pool of our faith communities. We wanted to be an extension of CMS by providing the most clear and aligned communication out to our networks to best support CMS.

Well, we are used to knowing the needs clearly and mobilizing volunteers to CMS locations based on the schools and student population needs, but given the craziness that came with COVID, we were not in a good place to know exactly what was going to be needed, where, when and who was allowed to give what. So, we had to walk alongside CMS in creating new opportunities and engaging faith based partners in different ways, from providing volunteers to deeper needs, like the usage of their facilities, etc.

From our perspective, we really saw CMS implode due to COVID (this is not a knock, rather the reality of what we all faced), and then rise to meet needs in a time frame fast enough for the community to execute. I know CMS took a lot of criticism, but when you are a body of so many people and have the added responsibility of our community’s youth…

I was so thankful that CMS had the ability to pivot as fast as they could to ensure food, childcare, and resources were met to best care for our community’s needs in a time of crisis. I also had such great feedback from churches who were able to walk alongside their partner schools with the meal service program and from others who were able to engage their community in a new way through a school partnership. I know we all learned a lot during COVID but I truly know that moving forward, CMS can handle probably anything that gets thrown at them.

- Jessica Pierson

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