ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Volunteers from local churches are back home after serving meals and handing out supplies to victims of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana over the weekend.
Josh Lilly, Family Pastor with First Baptist Church of Robertsdale, said a total of 30 volunteers made the trip, including volunteers from the church FBC-Robertsdale, along with two other churches, Summit Church in Foley and Central Community Church in Pace, Florida.
According to its website, firstrobertsdale.com, last year volunteers from the First Baptist Church served meals to those impacted by Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles, then just a few weeks later provided meals to local residents following Hurricane Sally, more than 20,000 meals total.
This year the group headed to Kenner, Louisiana, setting up at Family Church, Lilly said.
Volunteers served two meals beginning with lunch on Friday, Sept. 3, two meals on Saturday and one on Sunday before returning to Alabama, serving a total of 1,000 plates at each meal with plans to go back over the next few weeks.
“This is an area that didn’t have a lot of structural devastation, but like a lot of places in the area, there’s no power and it could be weeks before power is restored,” Lilly said. “It really all depends on when they get power. Once power is restored, the need for meals, ice and other supplies will not be as crucial.”
Lilly, senior pastor Jeff Copeland, youth pastor Thomas Ray, worship pastor Steve Lacey, staff and members are asking for the public’s help through prayer, volunteering or making a donation to help purchase food. This year food costs have increased up to 50 percent.
“We ask you to help us help those recover from Ida's destruction. It will cost us more than ever to feed those in need. You’ve been so faithful in helping us over 15 years. We know the lord will provide through your prayers, volunteering and giving.”
This is the group’s 17th year of Disaster Relief Ministry.
The ministry began at the church in 2005, after the church hosted evacuees following Hurricane Katrina.
Since then, teams have responded to over a dozen disaster sites in five states, serving more than 25,000 hot meals before nearly doubling that total last year.
The group, comprised entirely of volunteers, has three cook trailers with the capacity to prepare up to 1,000 plates per meal. The group also took a trailer full of paper products and other supplies, and a trailer full of ice.
Food, particularly meat, is pre-cooked at what the church calls its Fusion Café. The food that is pre-cooked is then vacuum sealed and stored in the trailers, then re-heated in boiling water along with other food that can be prepared at the site.
If you would like to donate or volunteer, links are available on the church’s website, firstrobertsdale.com. For more information you can visit the website, the First Baptist Church, Robertsdale page on Facebook or call 251-947-4362.