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Georgia Baptists serving free meals for security teams at Rosalynn Carter’s memorials

Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, in their trademark yellow shirts and caps, feed crowds in crisis situations across the state and nation, as was the case in this file photo from Kentucky last year. This week they're feeding the men and women providing security around former first lady Rosalynn Carter's memorial services. (Photo/Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief, File)

PLAINS, Ga. — The chefs who are preparing meals for hundreds of Secret Service agents, Georgia Highway Patrol troopers, National Guard troops, and others providing security during three days of memorials for former first lady Rosalynn Carter have vast experience feeding huge crowds, usually in disaster zones.

In their trademark yellow shirts and caps, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have been busy in mobile kitchens preparing tasty cuisine that has included, for evening meals, roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, salads, rolls and fire-roasted corn. At lunchtime, they’ve served up chicken fajitas, turkey sandwiches, ham sandwiches, chips and soft drinks. For breakfast, they’ve been dishing up grits, a southern favorite, along with eggs and omelets.

All of it is provided at no charge.

“It’s just a privilege for us to be able to do this,” said David Reynolds, a Baxley, Ga., resident who is heading up the project. “We know that we’re helping not only the Carter family but also these support people.”

The Disaster Relief volunteers served 700 meals on Sunday and expect to double that on Wednesday (Nov. 29) when crowds will gather again in Plains for the first lady’s private funeral.

Volunteers with Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief are supported by the 2,400 churches that make up the Georgia Baptist Convention, the state’s largest religious organization with about 1.4 million members.

Georgia’s Disaster Relief teams are routinely deployed across the state and nation to assist victims of earthquakes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Besides the mobile kitchens, the volunteers shovel muck from flooded homes, cut toppled trees off homes, fasten tarps over badly damaged roofs, sift through ashes of burned homes in search of anything that can be returned to families, and provide spiritual counseling to hurting survivors.

Georgia volunteers went to Poland last year to assist refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The overall goal, said Chris Fuller, a longtime Disaster Relief volunteer and a retired campus minister for Baptist Collegiate Ministries, is “to bring hope, healing and help” to those who need it most.

And, this week, the goal is to make sure hundreds of security personnel serving in a tiny town with few restaurants are well-fed.