Guest Authored by David Hernandez, Senior Director of Emergency Services at Endeavors
Through the pandemic “disaster,” we have been blessed to serve people in need.
As a disaster response professional, my team has witnessed and responded to plenty of tragic events across the country. Over the course of 2019, we served over 115 counties and municipalities, repaired over 15,000 homes, and partnered with 135 churches to help survivors of hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina.
In other words, we know how to respond to emergencies. Our disaster relief program at Endeavors has systems and protocols in place for when rainfall, wind, and waves hurt communities and damage families and futures.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and was declared a major national disaster, relief organizations like ours had to think creatively. How could we respond in ways that actually assisted people in need?
Almost as soon as the pandemic began, we began receiving calls that homeless shelters needed “surge staffing,” or, additional staff. Due to the need for social distancing, existing shelters no longer had the room to house clients and still abide by CDC guidelines.
Usually, our Emergency Rapid Deployment services respond to nonprofits in need during a crisis— primarily this has looked like aiding in migrant shelters. Whether help is needed internationally or at the same time as another crisis response, these teams go where they are needed.
This time, help looked different. Our teams were deployed to homeless shelters in Dallas and El Paso. These incredible staffers served food, handed out blankets, and listened to the needs and stories of people experiencing homelessness.
The work we have been able to do with these shelters has been so incredibly rewarding. I have watched our teams and our rapid deployment staff work hard, long hours to touch lives and help those in need. It has been our honor to contribute to operating these shelters for people who are most vulnerable and without access to the help they need. By working with these homeless shelters and partnering with El Paso and Dallas, we have been able to impact communities we love.
Serving people is a joy that I am thankful to God for every day. When disaster strikes, we are here to help people and organizations in any way we can. They just need to know that there’s a group of people called “Endeavors” willing to help.
About David Hernandez
David Hernandez is the Senior Director of Emergency Services at Endeavors. David is responsible for the oversight of Endeavors’ disaster recovery programs in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico. Working with over 600 staff, David and the disaster recovery programs are focused on case managing clients who have been negatively impacted by some type of mass disaster to ensure they find their way back to a sense of normalcy through a step by step recovery process.
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.