Hurricane Irma victims are about to find comfort in food. Operation BBQ Relief, a Missouri non-profit organization that helped feed victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, is heading to the Sunshine State to help care for victims in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Operation BBQ Relief is a local nonprofit that offers aid by setting up shop in areas affected by natural disasters, cooking and serving fresh and homemade barbecue to first responders and victims.
In Texas, the full scope of their relief measures are just now coming to light. As Fox 4 reported, the organization immediately went to Victoria, Texas following the landfall of Hurricane Harvey. While there, the news outlet reported that "volunteers served more than 371,000 hot meals over the course of 11 days in Texas. That includes 15,800 pounds of pork and 18,000 cans of vegetables."
Now, the volunteers are mobilizing again to head down to Florida to help recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma finishes sweeping through the state. So what is Operation BBQ Relief? Per their website,
"Operation BBQ Relief strives to provide compassion, and offer hope and friendship to those whose lives have been affected by disasters across the United States. We leverage our expertise in cooking and catering barbecue meals with our ability to quickly mobilize our teams into any area where disaster disrupts and tears apart the lives of Americans."
Organizers are currently seeking a setup location in Florida and are asking those who weren't affected to step in and volunteer to help.
"If you know of a place that has power and back up power, a kitchen, facilities to house volunteers, showers, and plenty of room outside for tractor trailers, commercial smokers and the like, please let us know."
If you can't get to Florida to be part of the team, you can still help Operation BBQ Relief make a difference. They are looking for donations in the form of full size foil pans and lids, and #10 cans of veggies.
"However we cannot take them a case at a time. We will need them by the tractor trailer load. If you have access to large quantities please let us know. If not please consider making a cash donation. Let us use our purchasing power to make your donation go twice as far."
We are planning to deploy for #HurricaneIrma relief to the southeastern US coast, likely Florida, once it is safe for OBR volunteers to enter. We just finished up feeding over 370,000 meals to #HurricaneHarvey victims and first responders. Resources are depleted. Please consider donating to help us continue to provide hot BBQ meals throughout this dreadful hurricane season. $.90 of every $1 goes on a plate. #OBRcares
Operation BBQ Relief is still in the Houston area where they served 55,575 meals one day alone. That's the largest single day output they have ever done.
The nonprofit began after the destructive tornado in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011. Competitive barbecue teams from eight states came together to help displaced families and first responders. In Joplin, these volunteers served over 120,000 meals over 13 days, and the rest was history.
Learn more about how you can help long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey here.