WSMV Channel 4

Wanting to pitch in with the relief efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a group of roughly 40 volunteers with the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Tennessee loaded up a convoy of trucks and headed to ground zero of the hurricane’s destruction.

But when they arrived in Lakehurst, N.J. on Sunday, they were told their help wasn’t needed.

David Acres, disaster relief director for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, told WSMV-TV that he and his army of 40 planned to take mobile kitchens and supply trucks to New York and New Jersey as thousands are still without food and water, some even without homes.

“We did move probably seven or eight vehicles from here to the New Jersey area,” Acres said.

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So imagine his surprise when they were turned away. It is hard to believe that someone in the area couldn’t find a place for them to help. Residents of New York and New Jersey have been extremely critical of federal relief efforts so far.

Acres says the food the group brought with them will not go to waste.

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“This is kind of what happens in disasters. It doesn’t always play out the way you want it to play out,” Acres said.

Acres said that because mobile kitchens from Kentucky, Arkansas and North Carolina were already in place, Tennessee’s trucks apparently weren’t needed in New York or New Jersey. Plus, there was no place to set up near the disaster areas.

“It was very difficult to find a good secure area to be able to set our equipment up and to be able to cook,” Acres said.

He added that the two-day trip wasn’t in vain. The local volunteers stayed overnight at McGuire Air Force Base to minister to members of the military.