By Michael S. Lee | The Commercial Staff
The ability of the Salvation Army at Pine Bluff to quickly respond to disasters, natural and man-made, has been enhanced with its recent acquisition of a brand new mobile kitchen, or canteen, donated by the Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Oklahoma City.
“We received it because we had the oldest canteen in the entire Southern Territory of the Salvation Army,” said Salvation Army Capt. Joanna Robinson, who heads up operations in Pine Bluff along with her husband, Capt. David Robinson.
“The old truck was constantly breaking down and we weren’t able to effectively participate in disaster relief operations due to the unreliability of our equipment,” Robinson said. “The new vehicle didn’t cost the Pine Bluff Salvation Army any money because it was a gift from the Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Oklahoma City.”
The new rig is a converted GMC panel van with the ability to produce between 1,500 and 2,000 meals per day with a three person crew, according to information provided by Robinson.
The vehicle is also equipped with a serving window that is augmented by a retractable sun-shade as well as outside lighting that enables the kitchen to serve meals day and night.
The interior of the vehicle houses a full kitchen with all of the equipment necessary to create full hot meals for displaced residents, emergency responders, and anyone else in need of food after a calamity hits.
With the new piece of equipment, the Salvation Army is now ready to serve people in need both within Arkansas and other parts of the country, according to Robinson.
“We were on standby for a possible assignment to Louisiana when Hurricane Isaac was approaching but the local Salvation Army locations in Louisiana were able to handle things on their own,” Robinson said.