From the Heart – August 2022

Aug 25, 2022 | Newsletters

From the Heart

August 2022

Message from the Co-Founders

August has been a very busy month for Operation BBQ Relief.  The historic flood in Eastern Kentucky on July 28th devastated communities across several counties.  Operation BBQ Relief was immediately on the ground less than 24 hours after the flood to meet with local officials to assess need, survey sites, and determine safety for the Operation BBQ Relief team to arrive.  Behind the scenes, Operation BBQ Relief was in constant communication with local, state, and national agencies to strategically serve the hard hit areas.  It’s a herculean effort.

We are grateful for the volunteers from 24 states that helped us serve 98,464 meals over 27 days in Eastern Kentucky.

We witnessed how hot meals gave communities hope in the midst of devastation. We saw how our volunteers were impacted when they shared the one hot meal that matters.  The moments of hope, friendship, and compassion would not be possible without your generosity.

As we approach hurricane season, we are grateful for your continued support. Please donate, volunteer, and share our social media posts.

We thank you for joining our efforts to share the healing power of BBQ.

Much respect,

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

Disaster Response Team – Hazard, KY

We love hearing from our new friend Veronica about the impact of sharing the healing power of BBQ. Turn up the volume and listen to Veronica as she beautifully highlights why our mission is so important.

“Myself, my family, and our entire community would like for you to get the word to the Operation BBQ Relief folks, the people who have been cooking these meals, and please tell them they have been a true blessing to our community lately.

People are still in a complete panic state of mind. So many have lost homes. So many have lost loved ones.  Nobody’s minds are working. Hot weather, nobody’s cooking. No water, can’t wash dishes. Some people still don’t have electricity.

These meals have saved so many lives. All the people are trying to work on cleanup efforts. Not knowing what to do, where to turn, but they know where they can come and get a good, hot meal. And they’re very nutritious meals too.

They are really appreciated. I really wish that you could get this message to them. And tell them they don’t know how much it is appreciated. The meals are getting to our relief centers. And then lots of our volunteers here are riding 4-wheelers and side-by-sides and taking food, the food these people fixed.  They are taking them and transporting them up in these little side roads that are still washed out.

No vehicles can transport up through there. These people are taking their side-by-sides and taking the meals house to house, delivering these meals to people. Those little side roads, people laugh at us, we’re hillbillies okay, we call those hollers.  There’s lots of people up in those hollers though. So if you can, please get this message out to those Operation BBQ Relief folks and tell them, they have taken one less worry away from so many people who have lost everything.” 

Veronica Sue Collins
Blackey, KY

Disaster Response Team – St. Louis, MO

Thank you to the volunteers that helped share the healing power of BBQ following the floods in St. Louis, MO. Special thanks to Doc and Susan Richardson from Doc’s Smokehouse and Catering for the generous support in providing the one hot meal that matters to communities in need.

The Always Serving Project®

BBQ Basics to Deployment Volunteer

“Operation BBQ Relief has been assisting me with the Tri-Cities 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb with feeding our climbers for a number of years. We were fortunate to host a BBQ Basics in conjunction with the event in 2019. Since we were running the event, I was unable to take the course.

Recently when I was able to finally attend a BBQ Basics this year, I learned many new skills from the pitmasters.

When I heard Operation BBQ Relief was in need of volunteers, I decided to drive over to Hazard, KY to see them in action on a deployment.

The entire group of volunteers were very welcoming and I truly got to be a small part of the big picture.

It was humbling to see how people from all across the country come together to be sure hot meals go to those who need them most. The entire process was extremely organized, and I felt like part of the team immediately. Operation BBQ Relief succeeds in making the most with the resources they have.”

Andrew Catron
BBQ Basics participants

Volunteer Spotlight

“It is said that when you volunteer with Operation BBQ Relief you will eventually understand your “why” for the deployment you are on. Today I got my “why”.

I was in the middle of another project when a gentleman pulled up in his truck and asked if we had any meals. He told me that he was spared from the floods and was now driving around looking to help others in need and found a holler that just had the access bridge replaced today after it was destroyed in the floods. When he drove up in the holler, he found a group of 16 people, 14 adults and 2 kids, who had not had contact with anyone for the past 14 days and were sharing 2 cans of food a day for all sixteen people and were nearly out of food.

With the assistance of the wonderful Operation BBQ Relief team in Hazard, KY, we were able to provide large pans of both protein and vegetables so that they could have that “One hot meal that matters” several times.

Just imagine, 16 people sharing 2 cans of food a day and with no water or outside communication for 2 full weeks.

After being deployed for 10 days, I had finally realized my “why” for this deployment.”

Randy Hartmann
Blue Springs, MO


Help share the healing power of BBQ!
Make new friends! Register to volunteer on the Operation BBQ Relief App
or sign-up at

Kentucky Strong T-Shirt

Grilling with Golic and Hays Cookbook

Stan Hays and Mike Golic teamed up with an incredible lineup of celebrity chefs, athletes, and coaches to present Grilling with Golic and Hays: Operation BBQ Relief Cookbook!

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.