True Story…I have seen it myself! Anyone who’s EVER been to a real ‘BBQ’ can attest that (as I have said many times) there are NO shortage of smiles all around! In addition to the fact that it tastes good and is prepared with love, time and attention to detail, like most true ‘comfort foods’…there is something about the BBQ ‘Community’ that is genuine and honest…and dare I say VERY American!
As most folks return to work this morning from an extended Holiday Weekend that we have in order to celebrate the sacrifices of many who died to allow us to live the lives that we do in the way we live them…there are crews of BBQ ‘people’, local volunteers, vendors and church volunteers in a College Parking Lot just off I-35 in Moore, OK working 24/7 for a second week to cook hot meals for the residents and rescuers of not just Moore, but all of the surrounding communities that fell victim to mother nature’s wrath in the past few weeks.
As it was prepared to travel to Joplin, MO in order to cook again in celebration of the second anniversary of its founding in a Parking Lot of a Strip Mall, Operation BBQ Relief instead, packed up its equipment and supplies and headed to Moore within 24 hours of the tornado hitting. They have valiantly set up and provided close to 100,000 hot, BBQ meals so far to the folks who need them the most! It may be ‘just BBQ’, but to a family who hasn’t eaten a well balanced meal in days it is far more than that. For folks who are literally waist deep in the process of picking up whatever they can that is left of their lives, not only is it a welcome and selfless gesture…it’s a momentary break from the misery in the aftermath!
Amazingly in two years time, Operation BBQ Relief (www.OperationBBQRelief.org) has gone from a group of ‘BBQ People’ in a parking lot cooking food to a National Disaster Response team with robust capabilities to rapidly deploy, set up, identify needs and donors and make it happen. This deployment has included extensive local, national and international media coverage. Once again, the power of BBQ has been demonstrated in the actions of those who cook it and lovingly serve it to their neighbors in need!
OBR is a GREAT organization and good way to get your ‘BBQ friends & family’ involved in helping others. BUT…it’s not the ONLY way you can help! Today, thanks to the many TV shows popularizing BBQ and the proliferation of manufacturers cranking out massive smokers and ‘BBQ Rigs’, there are NO shortage of smokers sitting in driveways and in garages across the country. While natural disasters get all the press and therefore attract the most support, financially and operationally…there are people in America who wake up and go to bed hungry…EVERY day! 1 in 6 children in AMERICA do not get enough to eat on a daily basis and despite the silent heroes who are helping as many of them as possible…the problem persists! How about connecting with a local food bank and using your smoker and ‘practice cooks’ once a month to provide a nutritious meal to folks who need one in your community? If you live in a bigger city, there are many chances to help…if you don’t know where to begin, you can start on the No Kid Hungry website: www.nokidhungry.org
OR…if you are able to be self sufficient, have a network of vendors that would be willing to donate on short notice and/or simply would like to help with a Tax Deductible donation: Operation BBQ Relief could really use your help and expertise: www.OperationBBQRelief.org – Just do something…an empty smoker void of smiles isn’t a happy smoker! – Enjoy your week and remember those who gave all in order for us to live free!