Volunteers prepare disaster relief vehicle years in the making - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers prepare disaster relief vehicle years in the making

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A South Georgia organization is finishing up a disaster relief vehicle, preparing it to help victims of future disasters.

The Carpenter's Kitchen is a portable food preparation unit that has been four years in planning and building, all by Georgia volunteers and donations.

When complete, builders say it will be able to prepare 1,200 meals every two hours.

"It's something that is needed," said Carpenter's Kitchen of Georgia Chairman Roy Downs. "There's not a unit like this that we know of anywhere in the South."

Downs helped serve meals in Hurricane Katrina relief in Waveland, Mississippi and saw a need for the unit.

"Sometimes we had to cook under very crude conditions," said Downs. "So we decided to build something that would stand alone that we could carry in and serve mankind."

Inside the 53 foot trailer is a complete food preparation unit, a large walk-in freezer and ice machine, a double oven, and three large tilting skillets.

"It holds 40 gallons. You can fry eggs in it if you wanted to, or you could make 40 gallons of rice, or peas or anything you wanted to, said Downs. "And it aids in dipping it up and putting in pans. And it also aids in cleaning it."

The Carpenter's Kitchen is almost complete. The last piece of equipment is a $20,000 meat smoker, and they need donations to buy it. They are also recruiting volunteers to work in disaster areas, like Gary Starr, whose Albany home was flooded in 1994.

"[I wanted] to do something with my life that I could demonstrate my thankfulness in the blessing that we had in people helping us," said Starr.

The kitchen is powered by a generator and propane tank that they will take to the disaster zone, where power is often knocked out.

The Carpenter's Kitchen organization is a faith-based not for profit organization that soon will be ready to provide meals where needed.

Albany business owners Al Rogers and Joe Brim of Air Quality Services, made a donation to the Carpenter's Kitchen of Georgia Wednesday morning, saying the organization's work will greatly enhance the community's image. They are urging other South Georgians to help.

"We'd just like to challenge other small businesses, especially air conditioning businesses, to help," said Rogers. "[At] The Carpenter's Kitchen, what they do is they go to disaster areas and they feed people for free."

You can tour the Carpenter's Kitchen and learn more about volunteering or donating in person.

The unit is parked at the Central Baptist Church in the 1600 block of Third Avenue. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Learn more information online about the Carpenter's Kitchen and Georgia storm safety.

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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