Monday, September 22, 2008

Day in the life of a Hurricane Ike relief kitchen worker

Here's a snapshot of what it's like to prepare food during disaster relief operations. This information comes from Jason Fletcher's blog, Hey Fletch. Jason lives in Live Oak, Florida.

Jason posted this quote from Fritz Wilson, Director Disaster Relief and Recovery Dept., Florida Baptist Convention, this morning. Fritz was reporting from in Texas City, Texas. He and his team have responded to Hurricane Ike relief.
Yesterday was a good day. We moved out of survive mode and into performing mode. Our kitchen prepared over 23,000 meals yesterday, most of that went out on Salvation Army canteens but about 2,400 meals were served by our people in the drive through line. Our volunteers got up @ 3:30 AM to do the following:
  • Start cooking @ 4 AM so they can have lunch (12,000 meals) ready and shipped by 9 AM.
  • Unloaded, sorted, and organized over 9 semi-trailers of food, drinks and paper products
  • Washed over 700 cambros – That is the containers that we put the food in
  • Cleaned up the site.
  • Went to bed @ 9:30 so they can do it again the next day
About 170 volunteers from Alabama and Florida are working 16 hours per day at the mega kitchen, said writer Mickey Noah ("Sacrifice, sweat and sharing Jesus in Ike-ravaged Texas"). The "mega feeding center" is located in the parking lot of Texas High School in Texas City. (The photo was taken by Jim Whitmer.)

The center is one of four in East Texas currently. The others are located in Baytown, Houston and League City. Each center was asked to "gear up" to 80,000 meals per day. Here's a few more thoughts from the article:
Of course, local victims didn't care who provided their food and bottled water or where they came from. Most of the victims who came through the Alabama/Florida drive-through line had not had power or tap-water in their homes for nearly a week

When asked what she thought about the Southern Baptists’ operation as she drove through to pick up her beef stew-over-rice meals, Cheryl Kasper of Lamarque, Texas said, "I think it’s the most wonderful thing anyone in the world could do for us."

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