FAQ’s

General Information

Can you share any personal stories about your interaction with the public while working with Operation BBQ Relief ?

There are so many stories we could share, many of them bring us to tears to tell them. There was the small child in Joplin who came to get food with his family in his Halloween costume because he was playing in it when the storm hit and that’s all he had left to wear. Too numerous to count are the times when storm victims will themselves be brought to tears because of a simple hot meal they’ve received. Their hugs and expressions of thanks through those tears make you quickly remember all of the things we take for granted daily. What are also incredible to us are the storm victims themselves who often show up to volunteer so that they can pay it forward to others. We have made some lifetime friends from some of these people. Being that many volunteers are competition barbecue cooks, we often tell people that receiving a bunch of numbers from judges on a score sheet for your barbecue means very little when you put that alongside the incredible thankfulness and gratitude expressed by people who have lost everything. A tearful, thankful hug and “God bless you” from a storm victim for something as simple as a meal trumps any grand championship win.
General Information

I would like to volunteer. How do I go about doing that?

Through our website at www.OperationBBQRelief.org, you can sign up to be a volunteer. We will contact those volunteers in areas where disasters occur as they are needed.
General Information

What are the best ways to keep up to date on Operation BBQ Relief and its activities?

The best way to stay up to date is to like us on Facebook. Our Facebook page is at www.Facebook.com/OperationBBQRelief. We post there on a regular basis and when disasters strike or are eminent, the latest updates are always available there.
General Information

What is on the horizon for Operation BBQ Relief ?

We are working to get our operational guidelines more fully defined and outlined to provide a consistent model that can easily be replicated by anyone in any area. Additionally, we have purchased disaster response trailers and are working to build them out inside.  As always, the goal is to keep getting the word out about Operation BBQ Relief.
Deployments

How many meals has Operation BBQ Relief served since your founding in May, 2011?

To see the total of numbers Operation BBQ Relief has provided look to the map on our home page.
Deployments

When Operation BBQ Relief responds, do you partner with local community organizers?

In many instances, yes. It may be a local church. It might be the local emergency management services or it could be another disaster relief organization such as Mercy Chefs, Operation Blessing or Citi Impact Ministries. Many times, we've worked with Red Cross or Salvation Army.
Deployments

How do you determine whether or not Operation BBQ Relief will deploy to a disaster?

That depends on several factors. First of all, we need to locate someone we know who is “on the ground”, so to speak, in the area where the disaster occurred. That person will be our eyes and ears and lay much of the groundwork for a successful operation. Along with those local people, our volunteers work to first determine the need. What has been affected? Is it residential or mostly commercial or industrial? In disasters where there are very few residences hit, we might not deploy. We look for storms where larger numbers of residential areas have been hit because those are the people who need us the most. We also take into account the local situation as far as who is operational and providing food already. One recent storm to which we did not deploy occurred in western Oklahoma. During this storm, even though it was bad and a lot of residential areas were hit, many restaurants were not affected and remained open, several of which provided free meals to residents in need.
Deployments

What does your menu look like after a disaster?

Mostly, of course, it’s barbecue. We get the biggest “bang for the buck” with pulled pork but we also try to mix things up and serve pork loin, tri-tip and chicken. These proteins cook the quickest. We usually add a starch of some kind and vegetables to every meal. When available, we also provide fresh fruit. When ingredients are there, we sometimes make unique dishes you might not consider at times like these. A good example is during the Joplin tornado. Sam’s Club had donated several cases of pre-sliced and cored apples in individual serving bags. Our volunteers got the idea to open these and dump into aluminum pans with some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. They covered the pans with foil and cooked in smokers to make baked apples for storm victims. We are always looking for something new to try because even during a disaster when people have no food, barbecue every day gets old.
General Information

How can people contribute to Operation BBQ Relief?

Through our website at www.OperationBBQRelief.org . It is a PayPal program but allows donors to make contributions even if they do not have a PayPal account or if you prefer you can mail a donation. Operation BBQ Relief 15514 S McClintock Dr Pleasant Hill, MO 64080 information@OperationBBQRelief.org
General Information

Where does funding come from?

Most of our funding during disaster relief efforts comes from donations from the public through our website.  Additionally, we receive donations of cash and product from businesses, both national and those local to specific disasters. As for our administrative and capital expenses, Operation BBQ Relief has applied for and received some grants that cover costs such as website hosting, stationery, business cards, marketing materials and equipment. To help fulfill the administrative cost needs, we also have our “Grand  Champion Club” and “Founder’s Club” which is a group of about 100 people who donate a certain amount annually to help cover these costs. On top of these, we occasionally have fundraisers such as Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments, barbecue dinner raffles and professionally sanctioned barbecue competitions.
General Information

Are there any paid employees?

At this time, Operation BBQ Relief has no paid staff. From co-founders to board members and those who make it all happen in the field, the entire staff is volunteer-based. Everyone has a “day job” and we operate the organization in our spare time. We realize that at some point in our growth, it will become too large and there will be too much to do to continue without a staff that is compensated but for the foreseeable future, everyone is a volunteer.
General Information

What is the purpose of Operation BBQ Relief?

Operation BBQ Relief is about making a difference in the lives of people who have lost their homes, possessions or loved ones due to disasters. We specifically do this by providing them with hot, nutritional meals at a time when such a thing can be a difficult for them to find. Something many of us take for granted in our daily lives can seem like a miracle during times of loss after a tornado, flood, hurricane or other disaster.
General Information

Where do you get your equipment / vehicles / trailers

The majority or our vehicles and trailers were donated, see here for more information on our equipment / vehicles / trailers 
General Information

Where are you located

Our Primary warehouses is in Peculiar Missouri and we have a Storage facility in Mobile, Alabama.
General Information

How did Operation BBQ Relief start?

Operation BBQ Relief was founded in the wake of our highly successful operation in Joplin after the massive and deadly EF5 tornado left much of the city in ruin in May, 2011. The group of us in Joplin provided 120,000 hot meals in eleven days and it occurred to us that such a relief effort could be repeated on a national level during other disasters.
Volunteering

Do I need to be a cook to volunteer

Operation BBQ Relief relies solely on volunteers like you. You do not need to be a competition BBQ team, caterer, restauranteur to help. We are looking for people who can help in many ways. If you are an individual or group wanting to help when disaster strikes, we want you to be a part of this rewarding experience in helping people. Please fill out the form below to register with us as a volunteer. Thank you. If you have any questions please direct them to information@operationbbqrelief.org