When wildfires broke out on the island of Maui in Hawaii on August 8, 2023, it was never a question of “if” Operation BBQ Relief would respond, but of “when.” Sending a disaster response team to an island is uniquely challenging, however. Unable to send our usual caravan of mobile kitchens and pits, we reached out to one of our friends on-the-ground who quickly helped us solve the problem of where we would cook the one hot meal that matters for the people of Maui.
Chris Schobel, owner of Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse in Kihei, Hawaii in Maui, first worked with us at the Stagecoach Music Festival in 2022, and saw first-hand what an amazing support the organization is. When the call came that we needed a place to cook on the island, Chris shut down his restaurant to allow us to use his facilities to prepare meals.
“I knew how devastated Maui was and knew what OBR could do for Maui. It was a no-brainer and Pono (the right thing to do),” Chris said. “I unfortunately worked in Manhattan on 9/11 and had to work in lower Manhattan for the months after the event. I have seen firsthand how much people need help after a major catastrophe and had to help my island.”
Since Operation BBQ Relief started cooking at Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse on August 13, we have provided 6,000 meals to residents, relief workers, and first responders on Maui, with many more to come.
“It is amazing to watch the OBR team get at it. They hit the ground and were immediately contacting so many people and organizations. Whenever someone comes up to them with a request it is yes, then they make it work,” Chris said. “It is still early-on in this process, but the impact can be felt already. Maui is really realizing what a resource that OBR is and will continue to be. I am proud to be able to assist in any way possible.”
To help Operation BBQ Relief continue to provide the Healing Power of BBQ to the people of Maui, click the link to donate and share this story with others!