ALTO, TX (KTRE) - When the Texas Baptist Men (TBM) learned the Alto School kitchen is non-functional from tornado damage, they went to work to find a solution. A field kitchen was brought in today for the school to use until the end of the school year.
The Texas Baptist Men joke the only difference between the school kitchen and the field kitchen is the latter isn't damaged and it's located in a parking lot.
"This is all industrial grade equipment that we're leaving behind for the kitchen staff to be able to cook the meals for the kids for the rest of the school year," said TBM spokesperson Rand Jenkins.
Ninety percent of the Alto students are on the free meal program. The hot meals are vital to maintaining some kind of stability.
"A lot of them don't even have, right now, everything they need at home. Things are topsy-turvy,” said Paul Low, director of assessment and academics. Coming back to school was very important to them. Most of them eat breakfast and lunch with us, so they count on us. The parents count on us. And we are just so grateful for these Baptist men to bring this kitchen."
The service agency has volunteered at every major disaster in Texas. The kitchen is capable of serving up to 40,000 meals, so the 810 mouths to feed in Alto should be no problem. The meals will be prepared in the outdoor kitchen each morning. Then they’ll be taken just steps away to inside the elementary school where meals for all students are being served.
When the great reveal happened, it was apparent the cafeteria workers were familiar with all the equipment. Safety training will be provided on the propane and a Salvation Army generator. The rest is left for them to organize just like they want. Afterall, it is their kitchen.
“Cook stove over there. Utilities over here. We're ready. We got it," said one worker with a smile.