The Arkansas chapter of the American Red Cross has asked the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) to deploy its mobile, mass feeding unit to Vilonia to assist with ministering to victims displaced by a massive tornado that devastated the community on Sunday.
The feeding unit will provide 700 meals and can provide up to 10,000 hot meals per day, including lunch and dinner, according to Matt Ramsey, ABSC communications director. The Red Cross will provide the food and ABSC volunteers will be preparing meals.
The feeding unit will be located at Beryl Baptist Church of Vilonia, 873 Main St. The unit began serving meals Monday evening.
Anyone affected by the tornado in Vilonia can come and have a meal, Ramsey said.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the storms," said Dr. J.D. "Sonny" Tucker, ABSC executive director. "Our disaster relief units are on the ground and others are waiting for notifications from local authorities. Arkansas Baptists will be a part of rebuilding lives and reestablishing hope."
In addition to the feeding unit, several ABSC disaster relief recovery (chain saw) units have been put on alert, but are not being allowed in the affected areas at this time since search and rescue operations are ongoing.
Online donations can be made to the ABSC disaster relief fund by going to www.absc.org and clicking on the "Donate Now" button. These donations go directly to the recovery efforts and victims affected by the storms.
In addition, ABSC leaders are partnering with Arkansans to collect "Buckets of Love," consisting of a plastic five-gallon bucket packed with selected items. For more information about bucket items, go to www.absc.org and click on the "Buckets of Love" button. Individuals can also sign up to volunteer by visiting www.absc.org.
"Arkansas Baptist will be a part of rebuilding lives and reestablishing hope for the victims," said Ramsey.
Arkansas Baptists are part of a larger network of Southern Baptist volunteers trained to respond to disasters by manning mass feeding operations, using chainsaws to clear downed trees and limbs, clear mud out of flooded homes and more. Together, Southern Baptists comprise the third largest relief organization in the United States, according to a release from ABSC.
To learn more about Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief, go to www.absc.org/disasterrelief.