Red Cross blog: How Debi Meeds Brought Agencies Together

Sometimes the simplest ideas are also the most powerful. One of the great innovations that came out of the response to the Joplin, MO, tornado of 2011 was the first Multiple Agency Response Center (MARC). Since then, MARCs have become the gold standard for partner cooperative efforts.

Debi Meeds, (longtime American Red Cross volunteer profiled here), deserves much of the credit.  While working a disaster back in 2008, she had noticed confusion. “People didn’t know where local resources were located, and our clients were spending a lot of time running around town to obtain assistance. The average client had to go to ten different places to obtain lost documents such as their driver’s license, family services, and things like food and clothing from various charities—and remember, folks didn’t have GPS phones back then.”

So instead of bringing people to the services, Meeds switched things and brought services to the people. Ultimately, the Joplin MARC had 48 different agencies and organizations at one location.

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