Disaster drill held at Houston Food Bank

1,000 volunteers assist in disaster drill

By Gianna Caserta - Reporter
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HOUSTON - Hundreds of volunteers came out to the Houston Food Bank on Saturday to test its efficiency at total capacity.

The Houston area has entered another hurricane season, and it is predicted to bring more severe storms than last year.

This is why the folks at the Food Bank are gearing up to make sure that they are in the best shape possible to serve the community.

"Figure out what we need to do to prepare so when something really does happen and we have swarms of volunteers show up, we are ready for them," said Betsy Ballard of Houston Food Bank.

On Saturday, 1,000 volunteers were at the Food Bank for a disaster drill. They tested their ability to perform smoothly and efficiently with a large number of volunteers working at the same time.

"We know that volunteers on a normal basis produce the equivalent of a meal a minute, that is because we are able to give them all the tools they need to work productively, so we want to maintain that kind of efficiency during times of disaster," said Ballard.

In September 2011, the bank moved into a new 308,000 square-foot warehouse, making it the largest food bank in the country. Volunteers who worked with the Food Bank at their old location say efficiency is key when dealing with disasters.

"Anytime you can be prepared for something like that to happen, it is for the best, preparation is always good to have," said volunteer Denise Kinner. "I think it will give them an opportunity to really look at the whole operation and how it functions in a disaster."

After the drill is over, Houston Food Bank will pinpoint any concerns they have and make any needed adjustments. That way, they are ready for a real-life disaster.

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