Our Response

This November, Samaritan’s Purse will return to Rochester to provide a spot of hope to locals who have endured a year of trauma and despair.

Why You’re Needed

Exactly one year after devastating floods, the community of Rochester, Victoria is still in shock. Though the town’s iconic pub and cafes have now reopened, the conversations overheard from residents are still about the flood.

Rochester’s three thousand residents have undergone unbearable strain in the months following the October 2022 flood­­—the worst in the town’s history. The hardships have manifested in the ongoing battles with insurance, lack of trades, and the mental health toil associated with the slow process of recovery. Hundreds of homes remain empty, stripped bare to studs, with residents unsure of when they can return. Driving around Rochester, caravans set up in front yard of homes has become the all-familiar sight.

“A caravan is for holiday in, not to live in,” said Liz, a resident of Rochester who spent months living with her partner, Greg, in a van following last year’s flood. The couple shared a story of an elderly friend who is still in her caravan, confiding with them “I don’t want to die in here.”

Samaritan’s Purse Australian Disaster Relief deployed volunteer relief teams to Rochester following last year’s flood to assist in muck outs and town clean up. Next month, Samaritan’s Purse is returning with a team of tradies and other volunteers to help lend a hand again. This time with the objective of getting people back into their homes.

Project Details

Dates: 13 November to 9 December, 2023
Location: Rochester, Victoria
Host Church: Echuca Community Church – 13 Rose St, Echuca VIC 3564

Questions about volunteering? See our FAQs below.

Sign Up to Volunteer in Rochester


To learn more about our relief projects, how to get help or volunteering, contact us on 1300 884 468 (AUS) or 0800 726 274 (NZ), or email disasterrelief@samaritanspurse.org.au.

Volunteers assist homeowners with tasks such as possession recovery, mud-outs (after flooding), ash sifting (after fires), tree cutting, debris removal, yard cleaning, and more.

No, anyone can volunteer! We provide all the training that you need, then pair you with trained and experienced leaders to facilitate your volunteer experience.

Volunteers may be as young as 14 years, however all youth aged 14-17 require parental permission and must work alongside a parent, responsible group leader or legal guardian. Youth volunteers are also restricted from performing certain tasks due to safety reasons.

If youth-aged volunteers are serving with you, please notify Samaritan’s Purse  Head Office in Australia to receive a copy of our policy, special instructions and other paperwork specific for youth.

Yes! We accept both individuals and groups for most of our projects.

If you would like to register a group to volunteer, please indicate this when you sign up and a Volunteer Coordinator will contact you. We welcome church, youth, school, organisation, corporate and other types of groups who wish to volunteer, however group numbers may be limited depending on the size of the project and worksite.

We encourage people to participate for at least one full-day to have the opportunity to get to know homeowners and fellow volunteers, however half-days are possible for local volunteers. Many of our volunteers participate from one to two weeks.

We encourage people to participate for at least one full-day to have the opportunity to get to know homeowners and fellow volunteers, however half-days are possible for local volunteers. Many of our volunteers participate from one to two weeks.

Yes, we typically will provide basic dorm-style accommodations at our host church base for volunteers who have registered through our Sydney office. Space may be limited per disaster site. You may need to bring a pillow, sleeping bag and air mattress or cot (if desired). Everything you need to bring will be outlined in an orientation package that you’ll receive before you depart.

You are responsible for your own transportation to the disaster response location and any incidentals during your stay. We take care of the accommodation, team meals and safety gear for you as you serve.

We cannot typically accommodate parking or hook-ups for caravans, however you are free to book in a caravan park at your own expense. Once you’ve signed up, a Volunteer Coordinator will be able to provide more information regarding accommodation options per site.

No, Samaritan’s Purse will provide all the tools you need. If you have tools you’d like to bring, please enquire beforehand.

We provide personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, safety glasses, etc. You will need to bring your own sturdy, closed-toe footwear or work boots. We also recommend hat, sun protection and long pants/sleeves.

The safety of our volunteers is important to us! All volunteers must complete a site safety induction prior to serving on any Samaritan’s Purse site which will include site safety rules, emergency procedures, and hazard mitigations while working. Volunteers will serve under a group team leader to provide additional safety oversight and instruction on the work site. Volunteers complying with safety requirements are insured for accidental injuries while serving with Samaritan’s Purse.

Most of the disaster clean-up activities require some basic level of physical mobility such as moving and lifting. However, there are non-physical support tasks that volunteers can also provide to serve disaster survivors and our team. If you have concerns about physical constraints limiting your ability to work, please share that with our team when you apply.

No, Australian Disaster Relief volunteer teams are only engaged directly following a major disaster event, or during the recovery and clean-up process for 1-3 months following a disaster.

Current volunteer opportunities will be displayed on this site when available. We recommend signing up for our Volunteer Alerts to be notified by Samaritan’s Purse when disaster relief opportunities become available.