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Michigan Man Feeds His Soul while Helping Others

Michigan Man Feeds His Soul while Helping Others
When Katrina hit, I packed up my utility trailer with chain saws, tools, wheel barrels, freeze dried food and went down to help them on my own

John Hendricks: American Red Cross kitchen manager John Hendricks (l) takes a brief break in the shade between meals to catch up with his "yard dog" Robert Pavlick who is in charge of getting the Red Cross feeding trucks prepped and loaded for meal delivery. The men work closely together to ensure that thousands of meals each day are getting into the hands of those who need it most. With wide-spread damage and power outages following Hurricane Irma, hot food is much appreciated by local residents.

Feeding people hit by disaster is a job Red Cross volunteer John Hendricks loves to do. “We’re helping people in desperate need,” said John. "I enjoy seeing the smiles on their faces. I enjoy them appreciating it.”

As a Red Cross kitchen manager, John has been overseeing delivery of about 7,000 meals a day from a mobile kitchen owned by the Southern Baptist Convention and operating in Naples, Florida. The Red Cross provides the food, Southern Baptist volunteers prepare it and Red Cross volunteers deliver it. Loaded into 13 Red Cross feeding trucks, the meals have been sent to four shelters being operated for people pushed from their homes by the storm as well as to various neighborhoods that have been identified as needing help.

In his 10th year with the Red Cross, John deployed from the Detroit area, where he volunteers for both the Detroit and Ann Arbor chapters. He’s previously deployed with the Red Cross to Hurricane Sandy and flooding in Baton Rouge, La. last year.

“When Katrina hit, I packed up my utility trailer with chain saws, tools, wheel barrels, freeze dried food and went down to help them on my own,” he says. “And then I ran into the Red Cross, so when I got back home, I signed up.”

~story by Pauline Jelinek, photo by John Bass for the American Red Cross