Following a year of unprecedented natural disasters in the City of Springfield, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno was joined by Springfield’s Emergency Preparedness Director Robert Hassett and representatives from the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter in downtown’s Court Square to unveil a new mobile kitchen.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno commended the collaboration between the City of Springfield and the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter in procuring this vehicle. “2011 has been a year of unprecedented natural disasters for our City and demonstrates the need for this vehicle. Hopefully, we do not continue to have natural disasters of this nature in the future but it gives some comfort to know the feeding vehicle is standing by ready to be mobilized on a moment’s notice.”
Funding for the vehicle comes as part of a Springfield Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) grant. The mission of the Springfield MMRS is to help local communities within the Greater Springfield Metropolitan Area prepare and respond to disasters. The mobile kitchen can provide up to 600 servings per meal. In a given area, these vehicles working in tandem and with other resources can provide many meals in a short period of time.
“The American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter is truly grateful to be the recipient of a brand new mobile feeding truck,” stated Rick Lee, American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter Executive Director. “This mobile feeding unit greatly increases the Chapter's capacity to fulfill one of its missions of helping people respond to emergencies. It will be used to assist victims of large scale and long duration disasters as well as to provide sustenance and hydration to first responders dealing with the same types of disasters.”
Over the past year and a half the Chapter has assisted in several disaster operations requiring feeding for first responders including a hazmat incident in Blanford, a factory fire in Indian Orchard, and brush fires in Hadley. The vehicle will also be helpful in situations like the June 1 tornado that required the Chapter to open shelters.
"We are more than grateful to the City of Springfield and the MMRS who were instrumental in securing the funds for this vehicle," added Rick Lee. "Not only will this vehicle decrease our response time in certain situations, it will allow us to respond to disasters in our community more effectively."
“We wanted to ensure that we had a vehicle that was easy to maintain, cost effective and readily available for use,” stated Springfield’s Emergency Preparedness Director Robert Hassett.” “One week after delivery and before the markings and Red Cross Logo was affixed on the vehicle, the mobile kitchen was deployed for Winter Storm Alexander at the end of October. The vehicle remains in continuous use for the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross and operates out of their Springfield Office.”
The cost of the mobile kitchen was $134,000.00.