BIRT needs you!

Published 11:24 am Friday, January 25, 2013

WINDSOR – Help wanted!

The Bertie Interfaith Recovery Team (BIRT) is seeking local volunteers to assist the organization in providing relief to those impacted in the wake of a natural disaster.

The group will conduct an informational meeting and membership drive at 7 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 5 at the Bertie Senior Center, 103 School Street, in Windsor. All are welcomed to attend and learn more about how they can help victims in times of need.

BIRT, which operates as a volunteer non-profit organization, was formed following the disastrous tornadoes that struck portions of Bertie County on April 16, 2011.

“Our goal is to assist victims in receiving needed supplies and restoring their lives following a disaster,” said Artie Johnson, BIRT president. “This includes locating resources and donors to assist the victims as well as getting these supplies to the victims.

“In order to provide the needed support following a disaster, we feel preparation is critical,” Johnson added. “We meet on a monthly basis for training and updates. We continually look for resources and supply sources to assist us should an unfortunate disaster occur.”

Johnson said the goal of BIRT is to work with Bertie County Emergency Management and the county’s local government agencies to develop and maintain plans to assist in responding following a disaster.

“We are not an emergency response organization and our role is to offer support to the current emergency organizations during the emergency response phase of the disaster and to develop long term response plans,” stressed Johnson. “Each disaster is different and will require its own unique response. Our goal is to be proactive in preparation to assure quick and adequate response following any disaster.”

One portion of BIRT’s response includes providing meals and needed food supplies should they be needed. This vital part of the organization’s response requires support and coordination to assure adequate supplies are provided as well as to assure food is not wasted.

“Our goal is to develop a plan to designate locations throughout the county as distribution points and to inform citizens prior to a disaster,” Johnson noted. “We need your assistance and support. We need citizens from throughout the county to join our organization to assure continued representation and support throughout the community.”

Johnson said support organizations will also be on hand at the Feb. 5 meeting to share their roles following a disaster. These organizations will include American Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Those interested in attending the meeting are encouraged to contact Johnson at 252-799-6718 or by email at no later than Jan. 29.