Ready To Volunteer?

Here's the 15 minute Crash Course of CrowdSource Rescue!

With a coverage area of around 7,000,000 people, we need all the volunteer drivers we can get!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are thousands of self-isolating seniors and high-risk people counting on CrowdSource Rescue volunteers to safely deliver much needed food to them!

This page will show you how to become a full-fledged delivery driver! It'll teach you how to use Zello (our dispatch app), work with the CrowdSource Rescue platform, and deliver safely!

It'll take about 15 minutes and then you'll be set!

Need some more help? You can ask for a dispatcher in Zello to walk you through and we also host regular new volunteer trainings on Zoom.

Step Zero: Some Background

Who is CrowdSource Rescue? Why Food?

CrowdSource Rescue is a Houston-based non-profit that has helped rescue over 50,000 people by connecting them to nearby rescuers during natural disasters.

You may quickly ask: natural disasters have nothing to do with food delivery though?

Correct! We are stepping outside our usual mission and co-opting the technology we use in hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, in order to help support food delivery to self-isolating seniors, via a wonderful partnership with the Houston Food Bank.

What do I need in order to deliver food?

  1. A CrowdSource Rescue account. You can register here, if you haven't already.
  2. A smartphone.
  3. Proper PPE. We can help with gloves, masks, and sanitizer if you don't already have some.
  4. A willing and loving spirit! You're not only delivering food, but hope and love!
  5. Some patience! This is new to us too!

Step One: Activate Zello

What is Zello?

Zello is a mobile app that will let you connect to dispatchers, get sent on deliveries, and get support. It may seem overwhelming, but don't worry, once you download it, the rest is easy!

Zello is a push-to-talk communications app, used by 1000s of search-and-rescue teams, emergency management agencies, and public safety agencies worldwide. CrowdSource Rescue uses it to coordinate multiple volunteers at once, during an active crisis.

How to download Zello

Download it from either the Android store or the Apple store. After you download it, you'll be able to make a Zello account.

Connect to the CrowdSource Rescue Channel

Our main "channel" is your one stop shop. It's how you'll interact with CrowdSource Rescue in the field.

There are two options to connect with our channel:

  1. Click on this link FROM YOUR PHONE with Zello ALREADY downloaded. Click the blue "CONNECT" button.
  2. If that doesn't work, watch this video. It'll show you how to download Zello and find the channel.

Screenshot of the CSR Zello Channel. Pressing and holding the mic button will allow you to talk in the channel.

Make your first Zello transmission!

If you followed the steps above (downloading Zello and getting connected to the channel), you should see a big yellow circle with a microphone in the middle!

Press AND HOLD that mic button, say your name, and that you're a new volunteer following along on the CSR training!

Wait a couple seconds, and you'll probably hear a response!

After that, CONGRATULATIONS, the hardest part is done! Give yourself a pat on the back!

Have an issue Downloading and Using Zello?

It happens. Go over to our Facebook group and make a post so someone can help. But try to follow the steps above again first. Having Zello downloaded and working is essential to making deliveries.

Zello will be a good friend, because it'll connect you to your new best friends: the dispatch team

Step Two: Get Ready to Be Dispatched!

Now that you've got Zello, it's time to do some deliveries! You'll need to familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 Incident Page, which is where all the fun is happening!

You're going to go to the Case Map, view individual tickets in your area, and then report back to Zello with those ticket numbers and your User ID.

Read below so you can learn how!

COVID-19 Incident Page

Your one-stop delivery shop is at crowdsourcerescue.org/covid. It wouldn't be a bad idea to bookmark that, because you'll use it a lot!

Before doing anything: you'll need to login to the CrowdSource Rescue platform.

You can click "login", in the top right corner of crowdsourcerescue.org/covid. If you can't find it in the top right corner, you can also click here.

After logging in, going to crowdsourcerescue.org/covid and clicking the orange Case Map button, will let you view tickets, e.g. the individual cases we need to deliver to.

Case Map

Tickets are viewable on the Case Map. Each delivery needed is represented by a red icon .

Zoom in on the individual tickets near you (or in an area you'd like to deliver to), to view the individual cases.

The map defaults to the Houston area, so if you're not in Houston, make sure to zoom out and move over to your area.

Case map, with each red icon representing an individual ticket.

Viewing Tickets (e.g. a case needing delivery)

While on the case map, clicking on individual red icons will bring up details about a particular case.

This page will allow you interact with a ticket. From the ticket page, you can view a case's address, upload photos, and report the delivery.

Whenever working with a ticket, you must note the Ticket ID #, found at the top of each ticket page.

Individual ticket page. If you think you can help, take note of the Ticket ID # at the top.

Preparing to be dispatched!

Go ahead and click around crowdsourcerescue.org/covid!

Click the orange Case Map, then click some individual tickets there, just to get familiarized.

When you're ready to start delivering, click on each individual case that you'd like to help, making note of their ticket #. Write those numbers down in your phone, on a piece a paper, etc - they'll come in handy later.

One last thing: on top of both the case map AND each individual ticket is your CSR User ID #. It'll be in a blue box at the top. Make sure to write that down as well; it'll let the dispatch team assign you the cases.

So remember, before going to Zello to get dispatched (next section), you must have TWO things:

  1. List of Ticket ID #s - You can find these on the top of each ticket you'd like to deliver to.
  2. Your User ID # - You can find this in the blue box, on the top of the case map or each individual ticket page.

For your first time, we recommend no more than 3 - 5 tickets. As you feel more comfortable, you can take on more!

Make sure to make note of your User ID #, either on the case map or on top of each ticket!

Remember: if you have issues doing the above, you can always reach out on Zello or on our Facebook Group!

crowdsourcerescue.org/covid is where you can view the Case Map, look at individual tickets , and get ready to deliver to them. With your list of tickets IDs and your user ID in hand, you're ready to be dispatched! Yay!

Step Three: Get dispatched!

By this point, you'll have Zello downloaded, and you'll have your list of ticket #s and your User ID. That wasn't so bad, right?

Now it's time to talk to the dispatch team on Zello and get dispatched!

Connect with a dispatcher on Zello

Pull up your Zello app, press the big yellow mic button (holding it for the entire time you're talking), and say:

"My name is [your name], I've followed the CSR training, and would like to be dispatched to [ticket ID #s]. My user id number is [User ID #]."

After that, a CSR volunteer dispatcher will make contact with you. It may take a couple minutes, so be patient. If it's after-hours (after 8 PM and before 8 AM), you may not receive a response til the morning.

The volunteer dispatcher is going to assign the tickets to you. They'll check on availability, find the closest pantry, and call the cases to let them know you're coming; they're doing all the heavy-lifting for the logistics. It sometimes takes 15 - 30 minutes, so be patient.

Ticket Assignment

Once assigned, at crowdsourcerescue.org/covid, a new red My Tickets button will appear at the top of every page. This will contain a map, as well as the individual cases below.

You can click on the red icons on the map OR the client's name below the map, to view the individual ticket information.

Clicking on the "My Tickets" button will show you your assigned deliveries.

After assignment, you'll be able to click the red "My Tickets" button at the top of any page, which will show your active deliveries.

But wait? Aren't we forgetting something? What about food!

We are partnered with the Houston Food Bank and 10+ partner agencies. After you are assigned deliveries, your dispatcher will provide you with an address to pick food up.

Each pantry is slightly different, but your dispatcher will tell you exactly how to get there and how to have food loaded into your car.

Remember, just because you have a food pantry across the street from you does not mean you can pick up from them. We are working with specific pantries that can handle a large number of volunteers.

You've done it! The big moment is here! You've downloaded Zello, you've gotten familiar with the CSR platform, and you've gotten dispatched.

Now it's time to go help some people!

Step Four: Make Deliveries!

First, congratulations! You're awesome. Words cannot express how appreciative we are of your service to your community.

All of the above may have seemed overwhelming. Don't worry. Do it once and it'll make sense to you. And now is the easy part: make deliveries!

Pick Up Food from Your Assigned Pantry

Go to the food bank address your dispatcher gave you. Make sure to follow the instructions (each pantry is a little bit different).

For the most part, you'll STAY IN YOUR CAR. Your dispatcher will have already called ahead to the pantry, so they'll know you're coming. Their volunteers will load your car for you.

One of the main pantries, Houston Food Bank's Portwall Pantry.

Go to an Address

With your My Tickets page loaded on your phone, click on an individual ticket. That'll show an address for the client. Load that in your phone's GPS app and start heading that way.

Drop Off the Food

Once you get to the address, it's time to drop the food off. You'll need to do several things.

  1. Follow Our Safety Rules - After you get out of your car, open your trunk, etc, you'll need to place gloves on before touching the food. If you don't have gloves, we can give you some!
  2. Place the Food on the Doorstep - Place the food on the doorstep of the client.
  3. Take a photo - After you've placed the food down, take a picture. We use this for record-keeping. Make sure to either send it via Zello to your dispatcher OR upload it directly on the individual ticket page (at the bottom, in the comments section).
  4. Knock and immediately get 6' back - Knock loudly on the resident's door and then get immediately get at least six (6) feet back to maintain social distancing. Once they've answered, let them know you're with CrowdSource Rescue and have delivered their food!
    1. Sometimes clients don't come to the door. If that happens, talk to a dispatcher on Zello and they'll call the resident.
    2. Feel free to stay and chat with them, you may have been the first human they've seen in a few days! Our mission is to not only deliver food, but also remind our neighbors that they are loved! But remember to never get within 6' of them, for both your safety and theirs.
  5. Don't Leave Food Unless Contact is Made - For safety reasons, we can't leave food at a clients door. Make sure they open the door and grab it, or talk to your dispatcher to have them call the client.

Before knocking, make sure to take a picture of the completed delivery.

Done! Delivered!

After your done, now it's time to report the case as delivered AND upload the delivery photo. Both of those things can be done on THAT ticket's individual page.

Go to the case's ticket page (remember, you can always find it under "My Tickets"), and do two things:

  1. Mark as Delivered - Click the green button that says "Report As Delivered" underneath the Ticked ID #. Then, let someone on Zello know that [ticket ID#] has been delivered!
  2. Upload Your Photo - On the bottom of each ticket page, there is a comment section. From your phone, upload the photo you just took. As a backup, also send it to your dispatcher via Zello.

Once completed, hit the green "Report as DELIVERED" button to close the case. Make sure to let your dispatcher know!

Once completed, also make sure to send your dispatcher the photo AND upload it in the comments section at the bottom of the ticket's page.

Wash, rinse, repeat!

All done! You've made your first delivery! Wasn't that easy?

You can follow the steps above for each delivery assigned to you underneath your "My Tickets" section. Go the address, take a photo, knock on the door, and then report the case as delivered. Remember to keep your dispatcher in the loop on Zello!

Have an issue on a delivery? Reach out on Zello!

Things happen, but luckily Zello is your connection to the dispatch team, who will be able to walk you through anything that arises! Make sure to keep Zello on and reach out with any issue!

Unsure how to get the right spot at the pantry? Zello! We can help you find the specific spot if you get lost.

Client not answering the door? Zello! A dispatcher will call the resident for you!

Get a flat tire? Zello! No promises, but we may be able to grab another volunteer to help you change it!

What about scheduling deliveries?

As you get the hang of this, you'll quickly learn that scheduling deliveries 24 hours in advance makes life easier! If you're able to volunteer on a certain day, gather some tickets ID #s up the night before. Then, after around 7 PM, you can go into the Zello channel, and ask a dispatcher to assign you the deliveries.

ALL DONE! YOU did it!

Consider yourself successfuly trained in CrowdSource Rescue 101! You learned how to download Zello, how to use the CSR platform, how to get dispatched, and how to safely make deliveries. You're well on your way to become a super volunteer!

Still a little confused? Don't worry, it'll make sense after you complete your first delivery.

Also, remember the dispatch team is your friend! If you need a little walkthrough, then jump on Zello and say so! We're all new at some point! Also, remember that we host regular Zoom trainings for new volunteers!

Thanks again for volunteering, there are a whole lot of neighbors in Texas that TRULY appreciate your service and willing spirit.