Feeding the need
Published 10:37 pm Thursday, September 23, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
Working to feed the hungry, the volunteers of the Southern Baptist Convention disaster team came to Atmore over the weekend.
More than 100 volunteers from the Tennessee chapter of the Southern Baptist Convention set up a massive operation to feed up to 15,000 people a day at the site of First Baptist Church.
Lloyd Blackwell, state director for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, said his group has been out on recovery operations since August, when Hurricane Charley hit Florida.
The group rotates out volunteers, but the operation has gone on nearly non-stop in areas of need.
The disaster recovery operation includes a large field kitchen, a hot shower trailer and washers and dryers for people to get clean clothes. The convention is also working chainsaw operations to help with debris clearing.
The convention is working with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and state agencies to provide hot meals to those who have no power and hit hard by Hurricane Ivan.
The kitchen served 5,000 meals Sunday, and prepared to serve 15,000 meals Monday. "We're working at the request of the governor," Blackwell said. "We'll be here as long as we're needed."
The group is providing meals to residents, police, and recovery crews who need them. The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are going out to the community to serve the meals. The convention also has a serving station set up at First Baptist Church.
"I don't want to see you coming back with food, and I don't want to see food getting thrown away," were the words of Pete Vrolyk to his American Red Cross drivers. Vrolyk is the kitchen manager for the Red Cross operation in Atmore. "These people are in need and they are hungry," he said.
Red Cross and Salvation Army vehicles will serve lunch and dinner in several areas around town.
Meal service at First Baptist Church begins at 11 a.m. for lunch and 4 p.m. for dinner.