As the hostage situation in Dale County heads into day four, volunteer groups are working together to provide food and drinks to those working on the scene.
Stationed at Destiny Church, the Salvation Army’s Mobile Feeding Unit arrived Tuesday night and began distributing meals, snacks and drinks to the multiple law enforcement agencies on the scene.
“It’s a mobile kitchen on wheels,” said Mark Jones, public relations director for the Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Division. “We’ve delivered a little over 1,000 meals, 3,000 snacks and 3,000 drinks (as of 11 a.m. Thursday).”
The first responders receive three buffet-style meals a day inside the church and are also given access to the mobile facility, which is stocked with snacks and drinks all day and night.
“All of the workers, military, FBI. everybody that’s here as well as all the volunteers and, of course, the hostage’s family, we’re taking care of them,” said Brenda Furqueron, service director for the Dale County Salvation Army. “They come in and get coffee, snacks or pack stuff with them to take up the hill (where the negotiations are taking place). The community outpour has been amazing. A lot of them are delivering supplies, and we have certain volunteer groups that go get them.”
The Salvation Army volunteers aren’t alone, as they’re being assisted by numerous area churches, including Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Dothan.
“I brought some volunteers up here as well to help distribute meals to law enforcement agencies,” said Ridgecrest assistant pastor Chuck Locke.
Dothan Police Sgt. Will Glover posted a Facebook status thanking area restaurants for providing meals earlier in the week.
Glover named Chik-fil-A, Larry’s BBQ and Little Caesars Pizza among those who helped.
Locke described the situation as “surreal.”
“We’ve been to Tuscaloosa and Mississippi for disaster situations, but you’re battling elements, not battling another person,” he said. “It’s hard to describe. Something kicks in that you just want to help any way you can, whether it’s putting a garbage bag in a can or handing an FBI agent a bottle of water.”
Area churches have also provided counseling and spiritual support to the family of the kidnapped child as well as others who have been affected.