From the Heart – May 2020

May 26, 2020 | Newsletters

From the Heart

May 2020

Message from CEO

Operation BBQ Relief celebrated our 9th Anniversary on May 24th. It was 9 years ago that our pitmaster friends began our first deployment to Joplin, MO following the devastating tornado and served 120,000 hot BBQ meals to local families and organizations.

I never imagined that 9 years later, Operation BBQ Relief would be celebrating our 5 millionth meal this past week and will be celebrating our 6 millionth meal on Thursday. It’s amazing to witness how The Healing Power of BBQ is so important during times of uncertainty and especially during this pandemic. We truly believe it provides hope, friendship, and compassion during this time that can be very isolating.

We extend our gratitude to all our volunteers, sponsors, supporters, and partners who have been with Operation BBQ Relief during the past 9 years.

Because of you, we are able to deploy on a moments notice to various parts of the country to serve the one hot meal that matters.

Because of you, we have been able to provide healthy lunches to school children affected by the pandemic.

Because of you, we have been able to serve those who serve us by providing meals to veterans and first responders.

Because of you, we are able to establish the Operation Restaurant Relief program to help revitalize restaurants and provide over 2 million meals to the community in response to COVID-19

Because of you, we are able to provide meals to front line workers

Because of you, we receive notes of gratitude like the one below that highlights why Operation BBQ Relief is so important and continues to change lives.

“I am writing to say thank you for the meal. Someone rang my doorbell and left on my stoop. I don’t know who gave you my name and address or who the person was that dropped the meal off. Nonetheless I am so thankful because I am disabled and stuck in the house. To be honest, your meal was the first meat I’ve had in a while besides tuna fish. I’m eternally grateful to your organization and thank you so much again!!!

Thank you for your support as we continue to provide The Healing Power of BBQ for millions throughout the country.

Our best to you and your family,

Stan Hays

Operation BBQ Relief Served 5 Millionth Meal in Nashville, TN on May 20, 2020 to first responders. Read More

Operation BBQ Relief celebrated our 4 millionth meal with The University of Kansas Health System on May 7, 2020. The recipient of the 4 millionth meal was Dr. Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director infection prevention and control and national expert on the COVID-19 pandemic.

This meal was more than a milestone for the organization; it was a symbol of communion and gratitude for the healthcare workers working on the front-lines during these challenging times. Shelly Moore, Patient Blood Management Nurse Coordinator at the University of Kansas Hospital, shared with Operation BBQ Relief how greatly connected she felt to the community knowing that “another human being lovingly cared enough to give.” With social interactions being limited for staff and with many of her colleagues working remotely, the meal created an overwhelming sense of connectedness. “It actually almost brought tears to my eyes and simply because I have been isolated working from the office alone for a long while.”

Watch the 4 Millionth Meal Presentation

CNN Heroes: Operation BBQ Relief Helps Reopen Restaurants to Feed Communities. Watch CNN Heroes Feature

Thank you Pit Boss Grills for generously matching donations and making each $1 donation = $2. Donate today as Operation BBQ Relief addresses food insecurity throughout the country. May 31st is the last day to make your donation count twice.

Super Bowl Champion Mitch Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs joins Dan McCall, Owner of The Classic Cup Cafe/Operation Restaurant Relief participant and Stan Hays to prepare meals for families and organizations affected by the pandemic. Watch Mitch Schwartz discuss Operation BBQ Relief


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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.