Meet Operation BBQ Relief
Operation BBQ Relief (OBR) is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 2011 in response to a series of devastating tornadoes that hit the Midwest United States. The organization was founded by a group of competitive barbecue professionals from nine different states, all wanting to use their skills and passion for cooking to help those affected by natural disasters.
Operation BBQ Relief’s mission is to deliver comfort and the healing power of BBQ in times of need, feeding first responders and communities affected by natural disasters.
Since its inception, OBR has responded to numerous natural disasters across the United States, including hurricanes, wildfires, and floods. The organization has also provided support to communities affected by COVID-19 and other crises. In late 2022, OBR served its 10 millionth meal!
To provide hot meals to disaster victims, first responders, and volunteers, the organization has a fleet of mobile kitchen units that are equipped with everything needed to prepare and serve thousands of meals each day. OBR volunteers are trained in food safety and are able to provide high-quality, nutritious meals to those in need.
In addition to providing hot meals, OBR also offers support services to those affected by natural disasters. This can include things like setting up temporary shelters, providing supplies such as water and toiletries, and offering mental health support to those who have experienced trauma.
One of the things that sets OBR apart is its strong sense of community. The organization is made up of volunteers from all walks of life, including pitmasters, chefs, and everyday people who want to make a difference. Together, they work to provide much-needed support to those affected by natural disasters and other crises.
OBR deployed to the Gulf Coast of Florida to bring relief to those impacted by Category 4 Hurricane Ian. Ian made landfall on September 28, 2022, wreaking havoc in its wake, leaving over 2 million residents without power, and many without homes, clean water, serviceable roads…Florida was hit hard. On September 29 OBR launched into action, immediately preparing tens of thousands of hot meals, and delivering them to those in need by air, boats, cars – whatever mode of transportation was necessary.
Grill Masters Club saw what was going on in Florida and wanted to get involved. After contacting OBR, we learned we could make a difference by helping out at Camp Chef, OBR’s mobile kitchen. This arm of OBR feeds the hundreds of volunteers deployed to help those in need. For Hurricane Ian, Grill Masters Club pitmaster Gary Brock happily volunteered to fly down to Florida and help in any way possible. With his years in the food service and BBQ businesses, Gary was quickly recruited to run the kitchen at Camp Chef. For 4 days, Gary cooked for 10 hours per day, feeding 150 volunteers who were cooking and delivering BBQ meals all day long. Gary cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, keeping the volunteers comfortable and energized to continue their rigorous daily routine of feeding those in need
I caught up with Gary on his second day running Camp Chef. “It’s hard to put into words what we are doing in regards to feeding the volunteers. It’s so much appreciated…we made a BBQ brisket pizza tonight, but you would think we had fed them wagyu tenderloin based on their reaction. They’re raving about it…they are beyond thankful.”
Operation BBQ Relief is an incredible organization that is making a real difference in the lives of those affected by natural disasters. If you would like to get involved, there are many ways you can help. You can donate to the organization, sign up to volunteer, or spread the word about the amazing work OBR has been doing over the past 12 years. 10 million meals for those in need is a remarkable achievement, and Grill Masters Club is pleased to support this amazing organization. Learn more and get involved here: https://operationbbqrelief.org/.