ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 4, 2011-Saturday, with an escort from the Middleburgh Fire Department, an American Red Cross mobile feeding truck arrived in the tiny hamlet of Breakabeen, N.Y. Located about fifty miles southwest of Albany, it had been isolated due to flooding caused by Hurricane Irene.
Driven by the husband and wife team of Tom and Cheryl Fleet, volunteers from Mercer, Pa., the food truck settled in outside the Breakabeen General Store on Main Street. As they set up the meals, representatives of the honorary Breakabeen Hose Company went through the hamlet in an ambulance announcing the arrival of the Red Cross.
It wasn't long before residents flocked to the Red Cross for a hot meal. With the fire department's assistance, residents were handed hot meals of chicken, tater tots, green beans and peaches-for many residents, it was the first hot meal they had since the storm."
I'm amazed at the resiliency of the residents," said Cheryl, taking a break during the dinner service. "Everyone has such good humor in spite of what is surrounding them."
According to the Fleets, they would not have been able to reach the community without the support of the local fire departments who had been supporting the town initially.
When Hurricane Irene struck, members of the Germantown and Rapids Fire Department were dispatched to the hamlet to assist in the recovery efforts.
"We came here to support this community, when the Middleburgh Fire District asked for help, no questions asked, we deployed, "said Germantown Fire Chief Michael Lawson.
Chief Barry Kobrin of the Rapids Volunteer Fire Department added, "The community has been incredibly good to us since our arrival and everyone has been more than accommodating. The arrival of the Red Cross with this meal is the icing on the cake."
Over 400 dinners were served in Breakabeen. The American Red Cross, through a partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention, has two kitchens setup in the state of New York. Tens of thousands of meals are being prepared each day to be loaded onto vehicles.
Additionally, the Red Cross is delivering meals-ready to-eat (MREs), water and cleanup kits across the state from Long Island, to Binghamton and north of Albany; and volunteers are doing outreach to help provide information and counseling for those affected.
The Red Cross has disaster relief operations active in more than a dozen states, and costs are growing by the hour as the Red Cross helps those in need. Current estimates for Red Cross relief for Hurricane Irene are from $10 million to $15 million.
Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org <http://www.redcross.org/> or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; you can also text the word "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
By Carolyn Sherwin, American Red Cross Volunteer