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Volunteers needed for disaster response

Sarasota County Health and Human Services is recruiting a team of volunteers to run Volunteer Reception Centers during a disaster.

In a disaster, a Volunteer Reception Center may be setup to organize volunteers. The Volunteer Reception Center is a vital part of managing the numerous volunteers who respond to assist those in need during a natural or man-made disaster. It acts as a staging area to process and dispatch volunteer teams to the affected disaster areas.

  • Volunteer Reception Centers connect volunteers with public safety (fire and police) and local leaders.
  • Volunteer Reception Centers do not control the incident; they only provide support in the way of volunteers and donated goods and services.
Those interested in running a Volunteer Reception Centers are invited attend the Recruitment and Training Workshop scheduled for Thursday, September 28 from 6 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 Price Blvd, North Port, in Sarasota. Participants will gain experience to set up and run a Volunteer Reception Center.

Officials say it is a challenge to register everyone who volunteers following a disaster. Sarasota County has adopted Volunteer Reception Centers as a best-practice model to help ensure volunteers work in meaningful and constructive roles during the disaster response and recovery process.

"After a major disaster occurs, the large number of spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers who show-up to assist with recovery can be overwhelming to an already stressed community," said Bridget Sims, Volunteer Reception Center Coordinator. "Volunteer Reception Centers are a key component to disaster recovery."

To reserve your place at the workshop, visit or call Bridget Sims at (941) 861-2562. If you have questions, please contact Bridget for more information.