Who is Henry?
Henry is a 53 foot, self-contained mobile Red Cross kitchen unit that calls Peoria, IL his home base.
Henry is equipped with:
- Walk-in freezer
- Walk-in refrigerator
- Fully functioning sinks
- Gas burners
- 40-gallon steam kettle
- Dual stack convection oven
- Stainless steel shelving
- Three 30-gallon tilting skillets
- 50-kilowatt silent generator
- Complete heating, air conditioning, running water and exhaust system
The National American Red Cross wants Henry strategically located where he can deploy quickly to disaster sites across the country. The high quality of our disaster service and leadership, the training and experience of our local volunteers and the strength of the relationships we have with our local community were all reasons why Peoria was selected.
How Henry will benefit Peoria
With Henry calling Peoria his base, Peoria will continue to be home to an even stronger local Red Cross chapter of the highest level of readiness and capacity.
- The Peoria area will have a better trained and prepared local Red Cross. With only two mobile disaster kitchens in the country, this is an incredible training opportunity for our volunteers.
- Peace of mind in knowing that Henry will be in our own backyard should there be a large scale disaster in Illinois. In the event of a major disaster, Henry will deploy to the areas where he is needed. If a disaster of that magnitude happens here, Henry would start to help immediately.
- Henry will also serve as a mouthpiece about what the Red Cross does. He will be traveling to many schools and community events throughout Central Illinois.
Where is Henry from?
Henry was built in 2000, and is the first Red Cross mobile kitchen built. He was named in memory Henry Fenn, a longtime Red Cross volunteer who was also an advocate for a mobile kitchen. Henry died in 1999 while on a relief operation in New Jersey.
Since Henry’s first deployment to Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, volunteers have used him to prepare more than 1 million meals for disaster victims.
Is he one of a kind?
Henry is actually one of two... The other mobile kitchen is called the Spirit of America, and was donated by the Greenwich, CT, Chapter after the September 11th Response, and follows the same general pattern of Henry’s Kitchen with improvements based on the lessons learned after Henry’s Kitchen had been in operation for a couple of years. It has a lift so that supplies and Cambros can be brought on board without having to carry them up stairs. It also has three tilt trays, a mixer and two convection ovens, and additionally has a roll-in convection oven with two roll-in racks. There is no freezer and no silent generator.
Would you like to work with Henry?
The Red Cross will be recruiting qualified, local CDL drivers to build up a team of drivers in order to ensure that Henry is always ready to be deployed wherever he is needed here at home or across the country.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Red Cross with Henry, please contact Alyssa Pollock.