Florida Baptist Disaster Relief is mobilizing three mass feeding mobile kitchens to meet needs of residents in Central and North Florida in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
According to Delton Beall, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief director, “The scope of impact of this disaster and the destructive swatch it cut up the east coast will require multiple feeding sites to meet the needs of those affected by the storm.”
Florida’s mobile kitchens are being dispatched Saturday to First Baptist Church in Melbourne and First Baptist Church in Palm Coast. A third kitchen from North Carolina Baptists will be located at Hibernia Baptist Church in Fleming Island. Food prepared at these sites will be distributed to the affected areas by the American Red Cross.
Feeding is expected to begin Sunday.
The State Emergency Operations Center has asked Florida Baptists to provide 100,000 meals each day.
Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, expressed appreciation for the work of the FBDR volunteers who are mobilizing across the state “and the hundreds of others who are waiting to respond.”
Other mobile kitchens from Florida Baptists’ sister conventions are on their way to the Sunshine State. These include Arkansas, Missouri/Oklahoma, Mississippi/Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky. Kitchens and volunteers staffing these units will travel to staging destinations at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, Canopy Roads Baptist Church in Tallassee and Parkview Baptist Church in Lake City this weekend.
The kitchens will be assigned to locations in north Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Daytona, Beall said.
“Because the geographical scope of the response is such a daunting task, we will be marshalling all of the resources we have,” Beall said. “We are projecting a 21-day response.”
Five cleanup and recovery teams are being deployed to Palm Coast, and another six are being mobilized in Melbourne, Beall reported. But more are needed along with Emergency Resource Teams, chaplains and logistics volunteers.
Volunteers are also serving at the Putnam County Medical Center in Palatka, providing child care for nurses called to work during the crisis.
All FBDR volunteers are being called out to help in this response, Beall said. Contact regional coordinators to volunteer. Contact information can be found at www.flbaptistdisaster.org/about/state-and-regional-coordinators.
Barbara Denman is director of communications for the Florida Baptist Convention (flbaptist.org).