09/16/05 — Hot meals come from Goldsboro

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Hot meals come from Goldsboro

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 16, 2005 1:49 PM

SALTER PATH -- The day after Hurricane Ophelia hit the Atlantic Beach area of North Carolina, Goldsboro's Salvation Army was on its way to help the disaster victims.

Amid power outages, damaged buildings and floodwaters, a crew of four Wayne County people took the Salvation Army's mobile disaster feeding unit -- or the Canteen as it's commonly called -- to Salter Path where residents were still without power.

The group included Chris Lyles, Loretta Knowles, Michael Pope and Andy Overton. Mrs. Knowles and Pope are cooks, and 18-year-old Overton, a Southern Wayne High School student, helps with serving and labor.

The group arrived at the Salter Path Fire Department late Thursday afternoon. They had been on standby to go to that area since last weekend.

They will be preparing and serving meals out of the fire department's parking lot. "We brought our mobile feeding unit, which has a feeding unit," said Lyles. "We also brought enough supplies to be self-sufficient for 72 hours."

Lyles said they were told to prepare for anywhere from 100 to 150 diners at each meal. The first meal Thursday night was a quick one, according to Lyles, consisting of ravioli, peas, fruit and rolls.

"Tomorrow we'll start trying to give them better meals," he said.

Lyles said members of the fire department are working around the clock, dropping in for a bite to eat, then going right back out. The group will also be serving hot meals to power crews that are repairing downed power lines.

The Salter Path Fire Department is using the second floor of the fire station as a shelter and those people will also be eating meals prepared by the Salvation Army.

"Anyone who comes in wanting a hot meal, we'll serve it to them," said Lyles.

He said there are a couple of restaurants on the island that are not able to open that have donated food to the Salvation Army. "So we can use food donated by the local people as well as what we brought with us," he said.

The Salvation Army will serve three hot meals a day plus snacks throughout the day.

Members of the Salvation Army group will be staying in a hotel in Morehead City until they return to Goldsboro. Lyles said they will get up very early each morning to drive to Salter Path and begin the day's duties, starting with preparing a hot breakfast.

"That's the most important meal of the day," said Lyles, "and we don't want them going out there with just a doughnut and a glass of juice when they're doing all that hard labor. With a hot meal, it gives them a chance to sit down and eat and try to forget about everything they've seen and done for a little bit and just relax."

The Salvation Army starts serving breakfast at 6 a.m. and ends its work day with dinner about 6 p.m.

But the group won't just be providing meals; they will also provide support and counseling for anyone who needs it.

"If somebody needs someone to sit and talk to, we talk with them," said Lyles. "We're here not only to help with their nourishment, but help them in any way we can, whether it be spiritual or just somebody to talk to.

"Until they get power on and as long as we're needed, we'll be here ready to do whatever we're needed to do."