From the Heart – February 2020

OBR Organizational Changes

From the Heart – January 2020

From the Heart – End of Year 2019

Decaturville, Tennessee (Tornado) / 3,250 Meals Over 2 Days

Powerful storms with straight line winds and flooding rains swept through Tennessee on October 26th, 2019. Many residents had to go to shelters, and those who could remain home were left without power and dealing with storm damage. The American Red Cross of Tennessee reached out to Operation BBQ Relief for assistance with providing hot meals to those in need.

Deploying a local team and working out of our Memphis warehouse, we provided the healing power of BBQ 3250 times over 2 days throughout McNairy and Decatur Counties. Our food was distributed to shelters and to many communities by both American Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles and by OBR Volunteers, ensuring impacted residents, First Responders, and volunteers received the One Hot Meal That Matters.

Petaluma, California (Fire) / 200 Meals Over 1 Day

Seasonal winds fanned the flames of wildfires across California vegetation dried out due to delayed Fall rains. The Kincade Fire was the largest of the 2019 California wildfires, burning over 77,000 acres. When mandatory evacuations around Sonoma County, CA, were put in place, OBR was asked to come
help feed those impacted.

We immediately deployed a local team to Petaluma, CA, where we fed 200 hot meals to impacted residents in shelters and to First Responders. Within 24 hours, firefighters were able to improve containment enough that the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office lifted some and downgraded other evacuation orders in connection with the Kincade Fire, allowing residents to go back to their homes.

This deployment was a great reminder that regardless of the number of days deployed or the total number of meals provided, it’s all about providing the One Hot Meal that Matters.

North Dallas, Texas (Tornado) / 1,450 Meals Over 2 Days

On the night of October 20, 2019, a severe storm system moved across the Southeast United States, spawning 10 tornadoes and causing damage across Texas. The worst of the damage was around Dallas, TX, where an EF3 tornado created a 15-mile path of destruction in its wake and knocking out power to
more than 242,000 homes and businesses.

With support from our generous sponsors (such as, Lowe's Home Improvement for letting us cook and serve in their parking lot and Sunbelt Rentals for the generator and forklift), The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services USA for helping to distribute our meals throughout the impacted communities, and our local Volunteers, we were able to deploy less than 24 hours after the disaster.

Over the course of 2 days, OBR provided 1450 hot meals to residents in need and first responders, as well as to the Lowe’s and Farmers Insurance employees who worked to help impacted residents get the products and assistance they needed.

From the Heart – October 2019

Grand Bahama Island (Hurricane) / 88,515 Meals Over 15 Days

Operation BBQ Relief responded after Cat-5 Hurricane Dorian caused major damage in The Bahamas. We set up our field kitchen in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and worked with local small-craft pilots for initial meal flights and the crew of the Miss Montana for subsequent daily meal flights to Grand Bahama
island.

The Miss Montana is a refurbished World War II era C-47 cargo plane that makes her home at the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, Montana. Never used in combat, Miss Montana was purchased by Johnson Flying Service from the military in 1946 and has a storied 30+ year history of transporting cargo and smoke-jumpers through the back country of the Rockies. She was found in Arkansas in 2000 and returned home to Missoula where she sat in the Museum of Mountain Flying until 2018. She underwent a year-long extensive refurbishment for her flight to Normandy, France, in May 2019. Miss Montana’s OBR meal delivery flight to Grand Bahamas on Sept 16, 2019, marked her first official cargo flight in at least 20 years!

This deployment brought an additional dimension of logistical complexity for an OBR deployment as we were flying meals to their destination. During the first couple days of deployment, inclement weather and mechanical issues grounded planes unexpectedly, but that didn’t stop the prepared meals from being distributed locally. The Always Serving Project (our non-disaster arm) kicked into gear and delivered 9350 meals to First Responders and shelters in the Ft. Lauderdale area. But after that, we were able to ramp up disaster operations on the ground and in the air. Over the course of 15 days, our Disaster Response Team provided a total of 88,515 meals to the people on Grand Bahama.

Two major milestones occurred during this deployment: OBR’s 3 Million Meal mark and our first International deployment.

From the Heart – September 2019