Special to the Journal
The local feeding unit headquartered in Belton is the Central Texas Christian Disaster Response Team (CTDRT) of the Texas Baptist Men (TBM) were deployed for six weeks to Angleton, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. After serving as many as 4,000 hot meals per day at Angleton over a six week period, the team then split up to wherever they were needed and served in Katy, Orange, Rockport and various parts of Houston. They worked with people from all over the United States who came to help CTCDRT team members feed those in need. TBM reported that during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that their feeding units provided more that 1.5 million meals. Jim McDougall, CTCDRT Feeding Team Unit Leader, estimated that “members from our local team had a hand in creating as many as 100,000 of them.”
Following the main push to help the flooded and tired, most of the team returned home for rest. The Board of Directors realized that through generous contributions the team had collected enough donations to start looking for the box truck the team needed to rapidly deploy their equipment to disaster sites.
The team owns and operates several large trailers which house and transports convection ovens, tilt skillets, tents, generators and all the items needed for mass feeding for weeks at a time. The trailers for this all volunteer organization are pulled by the team members’ personal trucks. The directors, after several meetings decided they needed a large truck to transport equipment on short notice.
They came up with a rather large list of specifications for the truck that would be necessary to meet their needs such as a large lift gate to load the heavy equipment. Also, a unit large enough to carry enough equipment that could sustain the feeding of at least 5,000 hot meals per day in a remote location.
Because of budget restraints, a gently used unit was preferred that was diesel powered. When Harry Adams, owner of Johnson Bros Ford was made aware of the need, he offered to help. Harry had volunteered with Texas Baptist Men in Louisiana several years ago after Hurricane Katrina. His favorable impression of how well people were served food and their basic needs met, prompted his desire to “give back.” He directed his used car staff to pursue numerous leads to find just the right unit. All those leads out to be dead ends, except one. A unit was found in Houston that met and exceeded the exact needs of the team.
The Johnson Bros sales team and Harry negotiated a price that was well below the proposed budget. When the deal was finalized, Harry sent employees to Houston to pick up the truck. After making a through inspection the funds were exchanged with the seller and the unit was driven to Johnson Bros for licensing and registration. The exchange of funds from CTCDRT to Johnson Bros for a set of keys (see picture) was done. Another chapter in the long 50 year history of Texas Baptist Men was written.
The truck is now being loaded with all the necessary equipment for its first outing on late June. The CTCDRT has volunteered over the last several years, working along side The Bell Baptist Association, to provide the hot meals for those volunteers training other volunteers to share the Gospel with the unchurched in Galveston. A rather long process has come to a joyous ending for Texas Baptist Men’s Central Texas Christian Disaster Response Team.
A part of the team leaves on the 19th for a week to serve hot meals to the volunteers working at and thru the First Baptist Church of Rockport. They will be working out of the church’s kitchen as they have done several times previously. That church is acting as the ‘command center’ for Aransas County’s rebuilding efforts. There are volunteers coming from all over the United States to assist in those recovery efforts.
Various Texas Baptist Men teams will be taking turns over the summer months with food preparation, showers, Bible distribution and spiritual support. The church is providing sleeping and eating facilities. This flow of volunteers will continue thru the summer and hopefully well into the future. Various Texas Baptist Men teams, like CTCDRT will be assisting those who have lost so much.