From the Heart – June 2020

Jun 16, 2020 | Newsletters

From the Heart

June 2020

Message from CEO

Operation BBQ Relief has reflected on our mission during the past few weeks and how we can continue to embody the values that are important to the organization.

Operation BBQ Relief provides comfort to those in need by connecting, inspiring, serving, and educating in communities far and wide.

Operation BBQ Relief is absolutely committed to pursuing our charitable mission guided by the principles of equality, justice, and togetherness. We believe that together we can do great things.

Operation BBQ Relief believes that service to others is LOVE and there is no place in our home for anything other than LOVE.

Operation BBQ Relief recently celebrated our 6 millionth meal since we began in 2011. Chef Aaron May from The Shelby and I presented the 6 millionth meal to Aleksandr Motchenko, Senior Respiratory Care Practitioner at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. It was truly inspiring to see so many heroes serving on the frontlines who expressed gratitude for the work Operation BBQ Relief continues to do each day. I also met with restaurant employees at the Shelby and they shared how important our new program Operation Restaurant Relief was for their livelihood and how it has inspired them to commit to giving back to the community.

We look forward to celebrating our 7 millionth meal in Pennsylvania this week. We are grateful for all the hard work of our staff, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters during this challenging time for our country.

Stan Hays

6 Millionth Meal Celebration

Watch the joy and gratitude from these amazing frontline workers! Operation BBQ Relief thanks the County of Los Angeles for putting together this heartwarming video from our 6 millionth meal celebration. We are grateful to all frontline workers!

New Positions

Congratulations to Joey Rusek, Head of Field Operations and Bryan Mroczka, Head of Culinary on their new positions at Operation BBQ Relief.

Read more about Joey Rusek and Brian Mroczka.

Operation BBQ Relief thanks our sponsors for their support in our efforts to connect, inspire, serve, educate, and feed communities in need. Operation BBQ Relief vehicles travel throughout the country to serve communities! If you are interested in being a sponsor, please email

Smokey Dave’s BBQ Highlights Impact of Operation BBQ Relief

“Strangers would hug you with tears in their eyes,” David Burch reflects from his first deployment with Operation BBQ Relief with Hurricane Florence relief. David Burch, or Smokey Dave, has always had a calling to cook and to serve others. After many years of hard work, competitions, and inspiration, Smokey Dave and his family have been successfully running Smokey Dave’s BBQ for the past three years, satisfying customers and serving communities in need. Encouraged by his loving family, Smokey Dave, alongside his 16-year-old son Hunter, or Lil’ Smokey, has been feeding the bodies and souls of communities in need through their service. Smokey Dave even returned to his home town in Durham County on a deployment, seeing full circle the strength created and the importance of giving back to your neighbors.

Facing great challenges from the repercussions of the pandemic, Smokey Dave and his family persevered by following their hearts by participating in the Operation Restaurant Relief Program. As his family and employees worked 12-15 hour days to provide 2,500 meals each day to the community, Smokey Dave notes “It was overwhelming at first and I had to stand back and think” when reflecting on his humble efforts. Feeling blessed to be a part of the Operation BBQ Relief’s efforts, Smokey Dave hopes to continue working with Operation BBQ Relief to give back to those in need while preparing to pass his business to his son by teaching him the importance of serving others.

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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.