UCA announces week-long disaster effort

The University of Central Arkansas kicks off “Bear Boots on the Ground”, a week-long volunteer disaster recovery effort for tornado victims in Faulkner County.

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni volunteers will work daily shifts from Monday, May 5 to Friday, May 9. Volunteers will be broken into two shifts each day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers can work one or both shifts.

UCA President Tom Courtway said, “Bear Boots on the Ground is a way for the entire UCA community to assist the areas devastated by the tornado and storms that hit central Arkansas this week. Many UCA employees and students have volunteered already, but with this effort we will help sustain the volunteer efforts in these communities.”

The UCA Division of Student Services is coordinating the campus-wide effort. The office has set up online sign-up for students, faculty, and staff. Participants will be asked to sign a waiver form and wear certain apparel to maintain personal safety.

“Our focus will be on victims within Faulkner County. We have arranged several buses that will go out to different sites from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. all next week. Our volunteers will help clean up debris, possibly work at volunteer centers, and most important, or simply be a friend to victims,” said Dr. Gary Roberts, dean of students at UCA.

UCA buses will pick up volunteers each day at 7:30 a.m. and again at 12 p.m. outside Reynolds Performance Hall. Volunteers will be returned to Reynolds Performance Hall. Other volunteers and alumni are encouraged to use personal vehicles if bus space is not available.

The campus Physical Plant and the Student Government Association will provide some rakes, shovels, gloves, hoes, and other tools. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own non-motorized tools. Aramark campus dining, Sysco Foods, and Frito Lay will provide box lunches for most volunteers.

Roberts said, “We know from past disasters that there will be many volunteers the first week; however, after several days, people’s energy starts to wane. Bear Boots on the Ground will give a boost to relief efforts.