Tri-Cities agencies prepare to aid those impacted by hurricane Matthew


KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL)- As hurricane Matthew runs its course, dozens of people in our region are preparing to make their way to the coast in an effort to help those in need. Jim Ramey is spearheading the Sullivan Baptist Associations mass feeding unit which is ready to leave for the southeast coast in a few days.   sullivan-baptist3

He said, “These folks have worked a lifetime acquiring what they have and all of a sudden it’s gone.”

Ramey has been a volunteer with disaster relief efforts for nearly thirty years but says every natural disaster has one thing in common. “They all have a common thread that runs through them and that is destruction,” Ramey said.

The feeding unit includes many different appliances that will allow volunteers like Ramey to prepare and serve food to tens of thousands of people in need. Ramey said, “It takes a football field and a half to accommodate what we have and present food to these people.” “We present all of the food that the Red Cross takes into the field,” he said.

sullivan-baptistAppalachian Power tells us 25% of their employees are currently on standby, waiting to receive a call for help. Appalachian Power Manager of Distribution and Support Rick Miller said, “They want to see a rapid orderly response and in order to respond immediately after a storm has hit, you have to start preparing a week before.”

Miller says it takes a lot preparation to restore power to hundreds of thousands of people. Miller said, “It takes a great deal of logistics to move a lot of people into an area and have them ready to work as soon as the storm has cleared.”

Ramey tells me he is glad he can be of service to those in need. “We’re doing what we’re called to do and just going to help those that need help and everyone that goes, they have it in their heart,” Ramey said.

While the Sullivan Baptist Association is still waiting to find out the exact location they will be traveling to they know they will be leaving Kingsport on Monday morning and will be heading to one of the hardest hit areas of Georgia.

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