Texas Baptist Men Prepare For Disaster Relief Effort

Volunteers with the Texas Men’s Baptist Association have been busy prepping their trailers and all the equipment they have, to be ready before they start their trip south. They plan to leave at seven tomorrow morning. When they arrive at their destination they will be serving food to those who have been misplaced by the storm.
The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Association cooks about 80 percent of the meals the Red Cross serves throughout the year in the region. Director of Missions Gene Pepiton says the group’s volunteers from Wichita, Archer and Clay counties will be meeting up with another group from Lindale before heading south.
“We will be meeting another trailer that is about the same size as this one,” Pepiton said. “We ought to be able to do 12,000-15,000 meals, probably, depending on what the menu is. Obviously, we are not setting the menu until they bring in the food and we will get with the head cooks and make a menu for each day.”
Pat Robbins has been volunteering with the organization for 17 years. She says no matter how long a volunteer has served, the memories of helping people in the midst of a disaster stay vivid long after returning home. Robbins remembers how gratifying it was to break through a language barrier while providing relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina.
“I knew I couldn’t walk around that long table to get to her, so I slid over the table and gather her up in my arms,” Robbins said. “She spoke no English. I found one of the reserves, no one of the guard, who was there. He spoke the language. She had been brought over from Vietnam and her husband never taught her English. When the flood water came, they went upstairs then he pushed her out the window to the roof and then he floated away.”
When disasters strike the group doesn’t have long to prepare before they have to leave. Beth Moret has been with the organization for about two years says planning ahead of time is a key to their success.
“It’s so rewarding to go out,” Moret said. “You just really bond with the people you are helping. I mean, some of them you make friends with and you stay in touch with. We are still communicating with people there in North Carolina.”
Pepiton says once they get where they are going, a lot of thought goes into planning the menu.
“If you can give them a cup of cold water, give them a hearty meal, then there is a joy in that because they have lost everything,” Pepiton said. “We know these people are coming out of south Texas, many of them from the Houston area, so if we get the chance we are going to make this taste like food from Houston.”
Pepiton did say there is a chance their plans could change as flooding threatens other areas, but they will be ready to go wherever they are called.


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