Washington, NC (September 21, 2018) — Most American kitchens may prepare 12 meals for a family of four on a typical day. How about 20,000? This is the meal prep capacity of the mobile kitchens of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, known affectionately as the “Baptist Kitchen.”
The kitchen has set up operations at the Second Baptist Church of Washington, North Carolina. Last Sunday, the large parking lots on both sides of the red brick church was transformed into a campus of tractor trailers, fans, refrigerator units, hoses, cords, tents, and seating areas set up to accommodate the crew and the meal prep. Each area is set-up with a specific function in mind. For instance, those in food service will be familiar with the wash, rinse, and sanitizing system for dishwashing. At the Baptist Kitchen it happens in three 100-gallon tubs/sinks to accommodate the large catering containers called “Cambros.”
On the busiest day, close to 7,500 meals have been prepared daily for residents of Beaufort and Hyde Counties impacted by Hurricane Florence. Most of those meals are distributed by The Salvation Army mobile feeding units, along with other local agencies. Another 800 meals a day are distributed right at the church to folks who drive by.
“Since Sunday we have been blessed to have the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers preparing hot, well-balanced meals for our neighbors in Beaufort and Hyde Counties,” said Lt. Karl Bush of The Salvation Army of Washington. “Without their trained volunteers and terrific tactical experience, we would have had to mobilize many more Salvation Army units that were already deployed all along the coast for our Hurricane Florence disaster relief efforts.”
The North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM) are also on site at the church distributing cases of water, infant supplies, clean-up kits, and hygiene kits. One simple drive through can provide nourishment and much-needed supplies to residents who are still cleaning up in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
The team leader on this crew of 35 feeding volunteers and 30 additional recovery volunteers is Rev. Jim George, pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church in Fredericksburg. The team clad in yellow t-shirts – and equipment — is from throughout Virginia, organized by the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The recovery volunteers are responsible for “muck out,” one of the most-needed type of Baptist Disaster Relief programs. These teams remove flooring, carpet, and sheetrock to help dry out and sanitize a home after a flood.
The volunteers are staying at the church in Washington and have trailers for showers and laundry. “Some would say we’re ‘roughing it,’ but it really is pleasant time we spend together. When the work is done we have time for wonderful fellowship,” said Pastor George.
Since 1969, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has sent teams of volunteers and specialized equipment to prepare food, clean homes, clear debris, and provide comfort to families impacted by fire, flood, or storm. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I get great joy in serving others in Christ’s name,” said Pastor George. “Each time I go out it gets easier. I like to think that it’s because the longer we are Christians, we connect more strongly with Christ, growing more compassionate every day.”
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.