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

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.