From the Heart – April 2021

Apr 19, 2021 | Newsletters

From the Heart

April 2021

Message from the Co-Founders

As we kick off National Volunteers Week, we dedicate this month’s newsletter to highlighting the amazing work of our volunteers. Volunteers are the heart, soul, and backbone of Operation BBQ Relief. We are grateful to the over 14,000 Operation BBQ Relief volunteers who have committed to serving that one hot meal that matters.

This year our national spokesperson Mike Golic hosted the virtual 2020 Volunteer Awards Ceremony on our Facebook Live. We are honored to highlight all of the award recipients along with their contributions to Operation BBQ Relief.

The Always Serving Project continues to connect, inspire, serve, educate, and feed thanks to the impressive efforts of our volunteers. We hosted two “Days of Giving” in April that took place in Roxboro, NC and in Toms River, NJ.

We look forward to celebrating our 10th Anniversary in Kansas City on May 24, 2021! We encourage the Operation BBQ Relief family to sign up to participate in the Celebrity BBQ Academy and Golf Classic. This weekend will be full of fun, golf, and barbecue!
Much respect,

Stan Hays, CEO
Will Cleaver, CPO and Head of Finance

2020 Volunteer Awards

Operation BBQ Relief announced the following Volunteer Award Recipients for their efforts throughout 2020:

The Heart Award: Chris Creech and Family
The Motivational Award: Nelson Creech
The Road Warrior Award: Mike Moore
The Quecomer Award: Donnie Paul
The Innovation Award: Mike “Jet Blue” Schwirian
The Behind the Heart Award: Abby James
The Grassroots Award: David Keith
The Leadership Award: Mike Richter
The Rod Cramer Volunteer of the Year: Rob Lee

Congrats to all the nominees and recipients!

Click here to read about the amazing accomplishments of the 2020 Volunteer Award Winners.

Click here to watch the 2020 Volunteer Awards Announcement with Mike Golic

Rod Cramer Volunteer of the Year Award

The Rod Cramer Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to an individual who exemplifies volunteerism and is recognized for their outstanding contributions to Operation BBQ Relief. Rod Cramer was one of the nicest guys in competition BBQ. He was always so positive and everyone’s biggest cheerleader. Rod was one of the first volunteers to arrive in Joplin nearly 10 years ago, and through Rod, we got our first corporate gift after becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity.

Rod stayed engaged up to the very end when he lost his battle to leukemia. This award was named after Rod because of the heart, work ethic, friendship, and respect he embodied. These are key traits of our volunteer of the year!

This year’s recipient actually earned the award largely by not being in the spotlight. Rob Lee is one of the most humble volunteers to grace Operation BBQ Relief. So many of his efforts take place behind the scenes. You’ll find him on deployments moving inventory around, working on food prep, and countless other activities, but for all the efforts people see, there is unseen work ten-fold. He’s racked up thousands of miles driving equipment. Throughout the height of Covid-19, he was instrumental in transporting food to Operation Restaurant Relief restaurants so they could produce meals to feed in communities hit hardest during the shutdowns. In a year where Operation BBQ Relief produced over five million meals, the truck driver is the real unsung hero.

1st Quarter Volunteer Stats

Operation BBQ Relief will be hosting our first Celebrity BBQ Academy & Golf Classic fundraiser on Monday, May 24, 2021 in Kansas City. Join us as we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Operation BBQ Relief!

Come hungry and get ready for a fun-filled day to further the mission of Operation BBQ Relief.

Click here to sign up!

Golf with Golic Raffle

Enter to win the opportunity of a lifetime!
You and two friends could win a round of golf with NFL and ESPN veteran Mike Golic on May 24, 2021 in Kansas City!

$10 per raffle ticket

Drawing will take place on April 26, 2021

Purchase Raffle Tickets –

Live Segments on Facebook

The Operation BBQ Relief Culinary team will continue filming live segments on Facebook.

Please join our Facebook page at @opbbqrelief to watch these delicious recipes.

April 21st – “National Banana Day” – Grilled dessert pizza

April 28th – “National Blueberry Day” – Grilled Pork chops, blueberry maple barbecue sauce, cheesy grits, and roasted brussels sprouts

May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – Smoked Brisket tacos, pickled onions and fresh salsa verde

May 12th – Roasted Pork Loin – Live from The Salvation Army Headquarter in Atlanta

May 19th – Craft Beer Week – Shiner Bock pork ribs, crispy smashed potatoes, and fried green beans

May 26th – “National Cherry Day” – Smoked cherry Old Fashioned cocktail

Days of Giving

Operation BBQ Relief hosted two Days of Giving where our national network of volunteers helped serve that one hot meal that matters. In Roxboro, North Carolina, Operation BBQ Relief volunteers partnered with Smokey Dave’s BBQ to serve meals 300 meals to first responders in Person County. In Toms River, New Jersey, DRJ Catering and the HOPE Center worked with Operation BBQ Relief to provide 500 meals to the community. This is the fifth time Operation BBQ Relief has served in Toms River. Mayor Maurice Hill expressed his gratitude, “We deeply appreciate Operation BBQ Relief’s commitment to our community in this time of need.”

Operation BBQ Relief Apron

The full length cotton canvas apron with three pockets is a great gift for BBQ enthusiasts.

Click here to purchase.

Operation BBQ Relief Swag

Show your support of Operation BBQ Relief with some new swag!

Click here to purchase.

Operation BBQ Relief YouTube Channel

Operation BBQ Relief needs your help as we grow our YouTube channel. Please visit our YouTube channel and click Subscribe! The channel has numerous videos that will highlight volunteers, deployments, programs, and recipes!

Corporate Supporters



Join the #iamOBR movement with a tax deductible monthly contribution where you can select donation options to help support Operation BBQ Relief.


Operation BBQ Relief relies solely on volunteers like you. Whether you are a competition BBQ team, caterer, restaurateur or simply an individual or group wanting to help when disaster strikes, we want you to be a part of this rewarding experience in helping people.