[img_assist|nid=8207|title=What's Cooking?|desc=Disaster Relief volunteer Reggie Burnaman (dark blue shirt) of Glenmora Baptist moves stacked cookpots, while Blue Cap Gene Lee of First Rayne, moves another set of cookpots with the help of LBC DR Director Gibbie McMillan, when he’s not arranging pot lids in the expanded storage space. The new DR feed unit trailer holds 14,000 pounds of equipment and supplies. The old unit has been sold.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=427]By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor
ALEXANDRIA – The Louisiana Baptist Convention’s new 38-foot Disaster Relief cooking unit was to be at the center of the NAMB display in the exhibit hall at the SBC annual meeting last week in New Orleans.
It replaces a unit four feet shorter and 22 years older.
“Our first unit has been well used and needed to be updated, although we got our money’s worth with it,” said Gibbie McMillan, LBC’s director of Disaster Relief and mens ministries. “We replaced the back end three times. This one has rollers so the back end doesn’t drag when we go uphill.”
The new unit is not at this time expected to be needed in the Homer, La., area, but at least 10 units – chainsaw and chaplain – were called out June 12 to repair damage from a tornado there.
“On one street alone, seven houses had trees down on top of them,” McMillan said.
Louisiana DR is to work under the direction of Homeland Security for this event. David Abernathy of Rolling Hills Ministry is incident commander.
While not expected to be needed for this event, Louisiana’s new feeding unit is now ready for use wherever it is needed. It was purchased from www.yourtraileronline.com.
“They work in disaster relief with another denomination, and gave us a great price,” McMillan said. “This gives us more room for more equipment. ... We can prepare 29,000 meals a day with all the equipment it will now hold.”
LBC has two smaller units, that can be called out for disasters needing up to 5,000 meals a day, but when a major disaster strikes, equipment from the smaller units can be placed inside the larger unit for transport, then set outside for use.
“It’s bright!” DR volunteer Reggie Burnaman of Glenmore Baptist reported on the color. “It’s more roomy and more economical.”
Upgrades include a side compartment for the generator (at front left of top photo), a side awning for the tilt skillets to fit under; appropriate lighting for working early in the morning or late in the evenings, plus the ability to plug in just one cord to the power source and power the entire unit.
The color, McMillan said, makes a bold statement.
“I just felt the yellow would stand out more,” McMillan said. “It’s more in line with what we’re doing.”
In 2011, Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers served 392 volunteer days in Alabama; 141 in Louisiana – Krotz Springs, Rayne and Sorrento; 36 in Brimfield, Mass.; 101 in Leonardtown, Md., 60 in Battle Creek, Mich., 48 in Meridian, Miss.; 22 in Bayboro, N.C.; 90 in Minot, N.D.; 208 in Bastrop, Texas; and 12 days in Bennington, Vt. – a total of 1,110 volunteer days.
This included ash-out, meals, chainsaw, showers, laundry and chaplaincy units, who reported 480 ministry contacts leading to seven professions of faith and four other spiritual decisions.
So far this year, Louisiana DR units have responded to floooding in the Dry Creek area, as well as several local reponses handled at the church/associational level.
“This trailer is a tool,” McMillan said as he gazed with satisfaction at the quality of the new trailer’s construction. “It helps us do what God has called us to do, which is to minister to people who are hurting.
“It says in the book of James that if you see your brother in need and do not show compassion, the love of God is not in you,” McMillan said. “The world today needs to know that God cares and the only way they know God cares is when they see Christians care. ... It is a proven fact that people know we [Southern Baptists] care, and hopefully they’ll know God cares.”