From the Heart – June 2019

Jun 10, 2019 | Newsletters

From the Heart

June 2019

Serving the One Hot Meal that Matters
Hope, Friendship, Compassion, Connect, Inspire + Serve

Welcome to FROM THE HEART the bi-monthly newsletter from Operation BBQ Relief. We hope you enjoy what you find inside and learn more about how OBR helps others after disasters and stay up to date with special events and the special people we meet along the way. Let us know how you like it and share it with a friend.


2019 has been an active year for extreme weather and our volunteers are always eager to serve impacted communities.  For that, we thank you!   We’re thrilled by the enthusiasm of our volunteer base.  Many of you are curious how and when we make the decision to deploy.  So, here is a quick overview of the process we follow to make that determination.

Local first responders and community officials spend the first 24 hours checking on their residents and making their own assessments of damage and needs.  We have a process in place to work with local officials in assessing feeding needs, but that process may take up to 48 hours as the need may be slow to materialize.

OBR’s niche is “mass feeding” in communities that cannot sustain themselves in the initial aftermath of a catastrophic event.  While most weather events impact some number of people and our hearts go out to those affected, it doesn’t necessarily translate into a “mass feeding” need.  Our assessment process includes many people and takes many variables into account.  Ultimately, if a community can take care of itself, then it’s important that we don’t disrupt the healing process and impact the local businesses as they try to recover as well.

What can you do?  Watch our social media pages for updates.  We try our best to proactively post on social media as soon as possible after a catastrophic event, even if it’s just to let everyone know that we’re monitoring the situation.  But most importantly, ensure that you have the free OBR Volunteers app downloaded to your smart device.  We push deployment notifications out via the app to our entire volunteer base, and you can use the app to keep your contact information up to date.  The OBR Volunteers app is available for download; simply click below for the appropriate system based on your device:

Apple Users click –> iTunes
Android Users click –> Google Play

As always, we thank you for your support!!

Will Cleaver and Stan Hays
Co-Founders of Operation BBQ Relief

Breaking Bread Tour/Always Serving Project

The Always Serving project is entering the final week of its inaugural Breaking Bread Tour. Since the tour kicked off on April 28 in Los Angeles, OBR’s Director of non-disaster programs Jarrid ‘Jay’ Collins has run, biked, and handcycled nearly 3000 miles with stops in several major cities along the way to serve the One Hot BBQ Meal that Matters to our Military, First Responders, and those less fortunate. When the tour reaches its destination in Tampa, Jay will be competing in the DoD Warrior Games as part of the Special Operations Command Team. We wish Jay the best of luck!

Then, we will kick off the BBQ Basic Series, a group of 8-10 two-day events where teams from the military and first responder communities will learn the art of BBQ from distinguished pitmasters and chefs. After that, they will compete against each other for a chance to go to the finale at the Army Navy game in December and the opportunity to be named Grand Champion!  More information soon to come.


Volunteer Spotlight

Who is Brent Bolton? He first got involved in OBR in 2015 when he asked to be part of OBRs State Wide Disaster Exercise. We weren’t certain about this guy with all those dutch ovens, but he showed up and cooked breakfast each day of that exercise for 320. When we deployed to Dayton, very close to Brent’s home, he showed up with a truck and trailer full of those dutch ovens and brought creative ways to prepare sides. He led the team in making these delicious sides that pair so well with our pulled pork and other BBQ mains. His team made almost 15,000 sides using all those incredible dutch ovens!

For that effort, Brent was singled out when he was Caught Doing Good and awarded his coin. Congratulations, Brent, and thank you for your support and dedication to OBR.


June 1-2, 2019 – Deployed to Linwood, Kansas

We showed up on June 1st, ready to serve that one meal that matters to the residents if Linwood, Kansas whose lives were turned upside down by the the EF-4 tornado that ripped through their town. Over the course of the two-day deployment, we served 2000 meals to the residents and first responders. Our thanks go out to all of our volunteers, many of whom were locals who showed up to help their neighbors.

For more details about the impact of the tornado and the OBR deployment, read this great article from, local news station in Kansas City.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered!

#WeAreOBR #OBRcares #TheHealingPowerOfBBQ

June 1-5, 2019 – Deployed to Dayton, Ohio

The same swarm of storms that wreaked havoc in Kansas also struck Ohio at the very end of May. After analyzing the situation on the ground with the assistance of the local authorities, OBR deployed to Dayton, OH and set up shop to serve that one meal that matters, along with a side of compassion and friendship to the residents of the hard-hit town.

After five days on the ground, OBR was able to shutdown the site as the local community started to get back on its feet and take care of itself. We served a total of  15,172 meals during that deployment and made many new friends. Thank you to everyone who came out to help!

#WeAreOBR #OBRcares #TheHealingPowerOfBBQ



June 15th – 16th – Breaking Bread Tour Stop, Tampa Bay, FL

June 21st  – 30th – Warrior Games Event, Tampa Bay, FL

June 28th – 29th – Chicago NASCAR, Chicago

Click Here for other event info
Interested in volunteering for an event, please email for more information

OBR Organizational Fact
(and response to a FAQ)

Deployment Levels:

  • Level 1 – 1500 or fewer meals per day with a duration of 2-4 days
  • Level 2 – 5000 or fewer meals per day with a duration of 3-7 days
  • Level 3 – over 5000 meals per day with a duration of 7+ days

Cookbook Update – Order Yours Today!

Operation BBQ Relief’s Cookbook, Operation BBQ, hit the shelf April 9th. There are 200 recipes from Grand Champion Pitmasters.  You can order your cookbook now and know that OBR’s portion of the proceeds go towards serving the One Hot BBQ Meal That Matters.  Help us help others with this tasty investment in your collection.  Order your Cookbook today anywhere books are sold, including through the OBR store on the website.

It’s not too late – order today!

OBR Cares

Operation BBQ Relief now has a Critical Incident Stress Management Program. As we carry out our mission, sometimes our volunteers are put in some very stressful situations, whether it be on a deployment or doing work behind the scenes during non-deployment times. The effects may not be felt at the moment but might be in a day or two, a week, months or can be triggered years later. We just want you to know OBR is here and willing to help.

We have three trained and certified personnel willing to help you. It is very easy to contact them. Just send an email to and your email will be answered ASAP. All cases are STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

We urge anyone who is dealing with any stress management issue that is affecting their personal life to please reach out and let our team help you.

Ways To Help Operation BBQ Relief

Team OBR has accomplished a lot since our inception. In the last seven years, we have grown from a startup organization to being one of the largest providers of hot meals during disasters. Our BBQ background prepares us to be really great problem solvers and so much of disaster relief is solving big problems to help others. One problem that we are trying to solve is the peaks and valleys of funding between deployments as the ongoing expenses do not go away when we are not deployed. A few of these expenses are vehicle and trailer maintenance, warehouse space, storage, and insurance.

We are asking for your help in 2019 toward a monthly giving campaign. This campaign allows our supporters to budget their monthly contributions throughout the year and allows OBR to better manage our ongoing expenses. Our 2019 annual goal is to add 1,000 new monthly supporters during the year. Thank you for being part of Operation BBQ Relief and helping us help others. If you wish to sign up for a monthly giving program, go to or click here to enroll.

Other Ways To Help

Volunteer – We are always in need of volunteers. Let us know your skills and come join Team OBR.
Company matching contribution – Most large companies will match your contribution. Ask your HR Department and double up your donation.
In-kind Donation – If you have equipment or a product that we use, your donation is always appreciated.

Email us at with any questions or suggestions.

Any suggestions for topics for the newsletter?
Please email your suggestions to:



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.