MASS CARE TASK FORCE
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
The Mass Care Task Force was formed in 2006 as a result of sorely needed improvements each of our four organizations identified as we responded individually and collectively to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Initially, our objective was to develop deeper relationships at all levels of our organizations and to clarify “who did what” in meeting the four overarching areas of humanitarian need following a major disaster:
It became clear during the process that regardless of how well we worked together, we still were not prepared to shelter and care for the number of citizens who would be affected in the event of a major disaster. To that end, we began the development of a project that, upon completion, would enable us to say that at any time North Texas was independently ready to shelter 37,500 of our neighbors.
This number is not arbitrary, but rather was determined using a specific scenario: an F-5 tornado hitting North Texas. Such a disaster is, based on statistics provided by the American Red Cross and the City of Dallas, the most likely disaster to hit North Texas. It would affect more than a quarter-million people, and require sheltering 37,500 for approximately ten days.
Once we determined the maximum number of people who would need to be sheltered, we worked with our operations leaders to determine what it would take to get us to that level of preparedness. The result was our $26 million project for preparedness. This project includes everything from development of a disaster response plan involving us, the government, and additional partners, to cots, diapers, telephone systems, and staff. A high-level summary of the budget as it is currently defined is as follows:
Shelter - 17,200,000
Feeding - 3,900,000
Volunteers - 1,200,000
Coalition Support - 3,900,000
In November of 2008 the Caruth Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas awarded a $5 million challenge grant toward the project. We are currently in the process of raising the balance of the funds from interested private foundations, individuals, and government entities.
I thought that the City and the County played significant roles in a disaster – why are they not listed as members of the group?
When a disaster occurs, many partners come together to assist. Major categories of activity include (but are not limited to):
- Securing life, limb and property (the role of government)
- Meeting humanitarian need (the role of the Mass Care Partners)
- Medical services
I have heard of an organization called VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), what is the difference between them and the MCTF?
The contributions of the members of VOAD are critical to disaster response capability. To that end, our disaster response operating procedures involve all of those organizations’ working in their specific areas of expertise in the event of a disaster. Our coalition is comprised of the major mass-care providers and was created to ensure that we can clearly define the best ways for our VOAD partners to assist.
Will North Texas need to access national funds?
One of the major objectives of our project is to ensure that we are prepared to respond locally, without requiring assistance from national organizations.
What happens to the money contributed during a disaster?
Contributions received during a disaster will be distributed appropriately by the individual organization in receipt of the gift. It is our expectation that those funds will be necessary for response. The project outlined above ensures that we are prepared prior to the disaster’s taking place.
If this is a coalition between four agencies, who gets the money from the project?
The project is managed by an independent Project Management Office. Contributions are held in a fund at Communities Foundation of Texas. As the project is implemented, expenses are authorized by all four of the partner organization.