Hot Meals USA heading to tornado-battered Kentucky – Kearney Hub

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Hot Meals trailer Dick Cochran and Hot Meals USA volunteers will take this Hot Meals USA trailer to Mayfield, Ky., early next week and leave it there to help feed emergency workers and victims of the Dec. 10 tornadoes.
Right after Christmas, Dick Cochran will pack up his Hot Meals USA sleigh and head for western Kentucky to help feed emergency workers and storm victims after the deadly tornadoes of December 10.
KEARNEY — Right after Christmas, Dick Cochran will pack up his Hot Meals USA sleigh and head for western Kentucky to help feed emergency workers and storm victims after the deadly tornadoes of Dec. 10.
“They’re in trouble. We go when asked to fill the gap when others can’t,” he said.
He and four others will leave Monday or Tuesday. They will drive a pickup and pull the smaller of the two Hot Meals USA trailers. Cochran will train people in Kentucky on Hot Meals USA procedures and leave the trailer there for as long as it is needed.
When working with disasters here, Cochran gets food from Cash-Wa Distributing Co. He said Cash-Wa is working on getting a food vendor in Kentucky.
He and the crew expects to return to Kearney in the pickup in eight to 10 days.
Cochran is working with Cheri Clark, executive director of the Kearney Jubilee Center, because her mother lives 15 miles from Mayfield, Ky., which was especially hard hit. Right now, he said, women from one of the two Mayfield churches that was not destroyed have been feeding about 500 people a day, but “they’re about at the end of their rope. We’re heading out there to give those ladies a break.”
He plans to get volunteers from the region’s Rotary clubs and the Knights of Columbus to assist with food preparation and serving, like he does here. He said details are “fluid” right now but should be solidified by the end of the week.
Cochran said other nonprofit groups have been feeding people in Kentucky since the tornadoes, but most are leaving this week. One will pull out on Christmas Day. “The area is still far from being able to stand on its own, but they’re packing up as we speak. This leaves a gap, so we will step in. Sometimes life decides for us when we will go,” he said.
Dick Cochran takes stock of some of the items to be use for the Hot Meals USA free takeout dinners Christmas Day, which started arriving since last week. The takeout meals will be offered from the parking lot of Mom and Dad’s Bar-B-Que and Catering at 222 W. 42nd St. Volunteers also will deliver meals to homes.
Cochran launched Hot Meals USA in 2018. It fed people in Nebraska after floods in 2019 and throughout central and western Nebraska during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. It also provided food after a derecho in Iowa in August 2020.
Hot Meals USA will serve a free takeout or delivery meals from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Day at Mom and Dad’s Bar-B-Que and Catering at 222 W. 42nd St. Volunteers will assist, but no more are needed, he said. Hot Meals also served free meals on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving a year ago.
In Kentucky, Cochran said, authorities are searching for bodies in the rubble and have not yet, officially, begun the cleanup.
“We talk to the folks down there and they’re about at their wit’s end,” he said. “The bright side is I get to be home for Christmas, but I’ll bring in the New Year in Kentucky.”
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Hot Meals USA will offer free takeout dinners 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Christmas Day from the parking lot of Mom and Dad’s Bar-B-Que and Catering at 222 W. 42nd St. Volunteers also will deliver meals to homes. For more information, call the Kearney Jubilee Center at 308-234-3880.
Hot Meals also will deliver free meals to police, fire and rescue workers and hospital employees on Christmas Day.
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Hot Meals trailer Dick Cochran and Hot Meals USA volunteers will take this Hot Meals USA trailer to Mayfield, Ky., early next week and leave it there to help feed emergency workers and victims of the Dec. 10 tornadoes.
Dick Cochran takes stock of some of the items to be use for the Hot Meals USA free takeout dinners Christmas Day, which started arriving since last week. The takeout meals will be offered from the parking lot of Mom and Dad’s Bar-B-Que and Catering at 222 W. 42nd St. Volunteers also will deliver meals to homes.
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