By Katie Wilkes,volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

Eddie Blackmon knows disasters well, but he knows the strength of a community partnership even better. Having managed emergency logistics since 1999, Eddie is a national site manager for the Southern Baptist Kitchen, an organization the Red Cross frequently joins forces with to serve thousands of people every year during disasters.

He helped pen the agreement between the Southern Baptist Kitchen and the Red Cross a few years ago.

“It’s a true blessing when I get out here in the field with you guys,” Eddie said. He’s managed food preparation at Hurricane Sandy, Katrina, and countless other disasters.

Serving 600 meals on a Saturday morning to evacuees of the Valley Fire near Middletown, Eddie emphasized the coordination between the two agencies it takes to keep the massive operation going.

Menus are decided well ahead of time. Meal counts are delivered every morning from the Red Cross. Food cases must be kept constantly at 160 degrees. Volunteers work fast and efficiently to load food onto staging pallets. Meals are packed onto Red Cross emergency response vehicles, then delivered straight to the hands of people in need.

“It means a whole lot to partner with the Red Cross. I’m just glad we can be here to help.”

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