FLORENCE, S.C. – The American Red Cross demonstrated its spirit today throughout the Pee Dee region, dispatching “The Spirit of America”, an American Red Cross mobile disaster kitchen, to deliver some 500 meals as part of a national Disaster Kitchen Training course.
The Spirit of America training exercise took place during the Rachel Hodges Leadership Institute on the campus of Francis Marion University. The exercise is part of a two-day, instructor-led, basic level disaster course designed to give participants the opportunity to learn how to work in a mobile kitchen preparing hot meals for delivery to individuals affected by disasters.
The Spirit is aptly named and can surely bring high hopes to those undergoing tough times during a disaster. The self-contained 53-foot trailer can produce up to 30,000 hot meals per day if needed and is one of several mobile disaster kitchens used by the American Red Cross Disaster Services Program.
The “Spirit” can operate anywhere – next to a standing building, in a parking lot or even in an open field. The unit can function in a stand-alone mode, or be connected to working community water and electrical systems. It contains potable (fresh) water tanks and wastewater disposal tanks, four propane tanks and a 65kw silent-running generator. The kitchen facilities include three tilt skillets, two stacked convection ovens, a roll-in-rack oven, an industrial size mixer, hot water on-demand system, five stainless steel sinks, and a walk-in refrigerator.
The “Spirit” also carries a pressure washer, a fire suppression system, an electric lift, heating and air conditioning systems, a gas leak detector, and a winterization package. Mobile disaster kitchens, like the Spirit, are normally used to prepare meals in disaster areas and work in conjunction with Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) to deliver food to affected neighborhoods and emergency shelters during a disaster. During this exercise, Red Cross volunteers cooked donated food products from Perdue and American Italian Pasta. Once the meals were prepared, the volunteers loaded them into mobile feeding trucks and delivered them to five fixed locations throughout Florence.
Monday, May 21: Interview with Red Cross and Francis Marion University Leadership
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
Location: Francis Marion University, Erwin Dining Hall
- Jerry DeFrancisco, president of Humanitarian Services for the National American Red Cross (Washington, D.C.), will give the keynote speech at the welcome luncheon. DeFrancisco provides executive-level leadership and management oversight of operations for more than 1,200 Red Cross locations around the world.
- Former First Lady of South Carolina and Red Cross Board Chair (Columbia) Rachel Hodges and FMU President Dr. Fred Carter will also be available for interviews.
Wednesday, May 23 and Thursday, May 24: South Carolina Hurricane Meeting and Exercise
Time: Wednesday, May 23, 1– 5 p.m.; Thursday, May 24, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Francis Marion University, Leatherman 106
- Staff and volunteer leadership will be participating in the annual S.C. Hurricane Meeting and Exercise to prepare and practice emergency readiness and response plans for the upcoming hurricane season which lasts from June 1 – Nov. 30.
- Red Cross Leadership from South Carolina, the South area and National Headquarters will be available for expert interviews in hurricane readiness and response.
Also, during the week there will be various training sessions that will offer great media interview possibilities. The media is welcome to observe and interview participants, volunteers, staff and instructors throughout the week. Click here for a full list of the training classes and course overviews. To coordinate these interviews, please contact Anna Kate Christophillis at (803) 730-5506 or Angela Crosland at (843) 843-206-5579. Click here for more information, about the Rachel Hodges Leadership Institute.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. To make a financial contribution to the Red Cross, please send donations to: The American Red Cross, P.O. Box 91, Columbia, SC 29202. Donations can also be made by visiting www.columbiaregionredcross.org or calling (803) 540-1242.
About Francis Marion University:
Francis Marion University is one of South Carolina's 13 public, coeducational universities. As one of the state's six comprehensive institutions, FMU prides itself on providing a strong liberal arts education. The University offers a broad range of undergraduate degrees and a growing number of graduate programs in serving the needs of communities, businesses and industries of the Pee Dee region.