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SBC relief effort prepares near-record 2.1 million meals


ALPHARETTA (BP) - Since mid-August, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have prepared more than 2.1 million meals in the wake of four hurricanes that have battered Florida and neighboring states along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard.

Typically, in disaster relief responses, Southern Baptist volunteers prepare most of the meals distributed by the American Red Cross. Southern Baptists are the third-largest disaster relief agency in the country behind the Red Cross and Salvation Army, with more than 28,000 trained volunteers on call for local, state and national emergencies.

Jim Burton, director of the North American Mission Board's volunteer mobilization team, said he expects Southern Baptist's national disaster relief response, which has been in continuous operation for nearly two months, to eclipse the record of 2.5 million meals prepared in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, which blasted south Florida and parts of Louisiana in August 1992.

Meanwhile, Southern Baptist Disaster relief feeding operations continue in the wake of Hurricane Jeanne, which slammed into Florida's east coast, near Stuart, on Sept. 25. Southern Baptist mobile kitchen units from nearly 20 states have helped prepare more than 95,000 meals during the first week's response.

Mickey Caison, manager of NAMB's Disaster Operations Center near Atlanta, said he expects that most of the mobile kitchen units will shut down operations in about a week as electricity is restored across Florida.