Written by Tracy Duncan
In the parking lot of Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, you’ll find trailers and tents of various sizes. Many of those trailers belong to the Red Cross, but if you look nearby, you’ll see several from the North Carolina Baptists on Mission.
The North Carolina Baptists on Mission is a statewide group dedicated to the disaster relief ministry and is focused on relieving human suffering caused by disasters. They fulfill their mission by providing hot meals, debris removal and other services. The group has been in New York since shortly after Hurricane Sandy made land fall, sending crews to help remove mud and debris from homes, install sheet rock and other rebuilding services much needed by those left in Hurricane Sandy’s wake.
While the crews of men head into neighborhoods during the day, another crew remains behind in this self-sufficient community. The North Carolina Baptists have bunk trailers, shower trailers, kitchen trailers, command trailers, utility/tool trailers and even a laundry trailer. They haul in their own water, which are refilled by local military groups.
Judy Blythe of New Bern, North Carolina, is today’s chief cook. Her task is simple – feed her crew, and sometimes others, three hearty meals each and every day. The challenge for today is Mother Nature as an arctic blast has moved in making it difficult to keep generators running, water flowing and trailers heated.
Despite the challenges, Judy and her cooking crew serve up hot breakfast for the North Carolina Baptist crew of 40-50 plus the Red Cross volunteers here early to do their work. She packs up lunches for the crews to take on the job and plans for dinner when they return. Crews working while Judy is here are fed well – BBQ, slaw, banana pudding, corn bread. For breakfast it’s often scrambled eggs, grits, cooked peaches and much more.
The Red Cross partners with many organizations like the North Carolina Baptists, who share common missions and goals: to relieve human suffering in the aftermath of natural disasters. Despite the cold weather, this is a warm partnership indeed.