Fire destroys Alabama church group’s mobile kitchen during Ida recovery efforts

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TERRYTOWN, La. (WGNO) — Hundreds of volunteers from across the country are in South Louisiana easing some of the burdens from Hurricane Ida.

Many of these volunteers are feeding neighborhoods, but now, one group is dealing with a disaster of their own.

Over the last several days, Celebration Church in Terrytown has housed a group of volunteers from Oak Park Church in Mobile, Alabama. The group brought their mobile kitchen and other supplies to make sure those in the neighborhood had a hot meal and a cold drink.

Wednesday night, a major fire totaled the church group’s kitchen and halted all relief efforts.

Cell phone video showed how aggressive the fire was and the moments when propane tanks began exploding.

Oak Park Church Executive Pastor Shane Jones said, “It is heartbreaking, but there are people a lot worse off than we are. We can replace this.”

The fire not only destroyed the trailer but nearby supplies as well. Since arriving in Louisiana, Oak Park Church has served nearly 7,000 meals and was on track to serve more than 10,000 by Sunday.

As large of an impact the volunteers made, neighbors are sharing how grateful they are. One little girl even wrote church members a note.

Jones said, “She wrote us all little notes that said God sent you to us. It’s little things like that that make the long days, the rain, the heat, the loss of a trailer worth it.”

Anywhere there is a disaster, the church loads up to begin serving those in need.

 “We went to Lake Charles, Panama City…we go all over,” said Chuck Peyregene, the Chief Cook for Oak Park Church’s relief efforts.

Peyregene became choked up knowing the group’s service in Louisiana is over.

“It ain’t about my church. It’s not about this church. Try to make other people’s lives better and let them know about the Lord and his good work,” Peyregene said.

Oak Park Church is heading back to Mobile. The group did leave supplies in Terrytown with Celebration Church. The group is devastated, not so much about the loss of their trailer, but knowing that they cannot continue serving people still hurting following Hurricane Ida.

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