Red Cross feeds hungry in area

Published 12:06 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Without the American Red Cross some people in Atmore would have gone hungry following Hurricane Dennis.
Within 48 hours after the storm, the Red Cross, with the help of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team out of Oklahoma, was serving lines of hungry residents that were without power and food.
"The people have been fantastic," American Red Cross Badger Chapter Mass Care Chair Gene Laubengayer said. "The residents of Atmore have been very kind. I don't get to go out in the streets, but the ERV crews are coming back and they're getting hugs, kisses and thank yous. We're all volunteers, so we don't get paid, we don't get a thing, but when we do go back to our various homes whatever state we come from, what we get are the warm fuzzies, the thank yous and the hugs and kisses and that's better than any paycheck in the world."
Seven Emergency Relief Vehicles (ERVs) traveled throughout the Atmore area feeding the hungry.
"We've been going out in the various areas of Escambia and Baldwin counties," Laubengayer said. "The vast majority of the need is pretty much centralized right around the Atmore area."
The South Baptist Disaster Relief team set up a kitchen in the First Baptist Church's parking lot and cooked the food for Red Cross as well as their drive thru feeding station.
"It's been going great," zone coordinator of the southeastern section of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team Bob Oldham said. "The people here are just wonderful. Anything we've needed, the pastor here (First Baptist Church) Arnold Hendrix has helped us with little things we needed. It's very helpful for us because we don't know where to go to find these things. To keep it all going, we need these things."
Oldham said the need for feeding assistance was definitely needed in Atmore.
"Last night (Tuesday) we served 1,250 people and run out of food," Oldham said. "We could have used another 100 meals, but I didn't know how to prepare for it, so we fixed 1,250 and it wasn't enough. We're not trying to really fatten people up; we're just trying to keep them fed so they can keep going. The food is nutrition and good."
Oldham was very complementary of the assistance received from Atmore's Police Department.
"The police have helped us tremendously," Oldham said. "They direct traffic and put cones up."
The American Red Cross closed its kitchen Saturday afternoon following its lunch deliveries and headed out of town
"There's an old saying that the Red Cross never leaves," Laubengayer said. "But we transition back to the local chapter."

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