Santa Maria, CA, October 23, 2013 -- Menu for this day are sandwiches, macaroni or potato salad for lunch, and lasagna for dinner.
Like a well-oiled machine, Southern Baptist Kitchen crew members plan menus one day before meals are prepared. About 3 hours before food is served, the cooking team arrives at their destination and sanitize the kitchen with bleach before they even start laying out food products.
“The first thing we did this morning was buy ingredients for today's meals,” said Patrick Dougherty of Burbank (CA), member of the SBK crew assigned to the American Red Cross- run shelter at Minami Community Center in Santa Maria. “We inspect food product whether it's brought in or bought. We make sure food is cooked to proper temperature and held at proper temperature.” No stranger to the Red Cross, Dougherty has over 20 years with the organization, and five years with the Southern Baptist Kitchen. He also leads a church cooking team of 10 in Burbank for Calgary Chapel.
Etmer Lamb of Ojai (CA), SBK team leader sporting the blue cap, said the Santa Maria crew consists of volunteers from Burbank, Santa Barbara and Northern California. “Our goal is to serve wholesome meals to people and bring a smile to their day.” He is pleased that environmental health inspectors congratulated SBK for their attention to detail, professionalism, and degree of cooperation. “We're here (in Santa Maria) to partner with the American Red Cross...you are wonderful partners,” said Lamb.
The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Team—with a trained volunteer force of over 4,000—has been in California since 1961. They have three mobile kitchens in the State capable of preparing 35,000 hot meals per day. Lamb said there are 100 mobile kitchens throughout the country. “We've been blessed with these resources to serve the community,” Dougherty said.