Salvation Army Still Serving Meals at Sugar Refinery

Every day at noon, Imperial Sugar workers line up ready for a hot meal.
Every day at noon, Imperial Sugar workers line up ready for a hot meal.
The Salvation Army is doing the work, cooking and serving hot meals to 275 employees, sometimes twice a day.
The Salvation Army is doing the work, cooking and serving hot meals to 275 employees, sometimes twice a day.

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - It's been nearly two months since an explosion rocked a Port Wentworth sugar refinery. The blast destroyed several parts of the plant including the break room and cafeteria.

Today we got an exclusive look at how some volunteers are still on the scene all these weeks later.

Every day at noon, Imperial Sugar workers line up ready for a hot meal, one that's served by volunteers with the Salvation Army.

Sam Hearn is one of the many from the Salvation Army who spends his days out at the site. "Since the disaster after the initial rescue, we were approached to continue serving. Plus OSHA and the other government officials are still doing work out here," said Hearn.

Imperial Sugar is paying for the supplies, but Salvation Army is doing the work, cooking and serving one hot meal after another to 275 employees, sometimes twice a day.

"That's what we do best," said Hearn.

Some of the volunteers get here at 4am and stay for 10 and 12 hours, all to make sure the Imperial Sugar employees get the nutrition they need. "This is Savannah folks wanting to help Savannah folks," said Hearn.

Employees like Julius Scott appreciate the service. "They have been here for us since day one they are here everyday and I had no idea they were as good as they are. They have served us every meal," said Scott.

Scott is Imperial Sugar's shipping manager and says before the explosion, most of the workers brought lunch or visited the cafeteria. But without a break room or power, workers would be forced to leave for leave lunch at their own expense.

Scott says they would be lost without the Salvation Army's help. "They are very supportive and anything we ask they do for us," said Scott.

So far the Salvation Army has served 18,000 meals since the explosion. "You just can't imagine that many served but they are on the job every day," said Scott.

And say they'll be there as long at their needed.

More good news starting Monday. More employees will return to work bringing the total number of workers back at the plant up to 300 which is getting closer to full capacity.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com