Jim Rude

Feb 2, 2024 | Volunteer Spotlights

Our volunteers choose to spend their time with Operation BBQ Relief for many different reasons. For Jim Rude, his family was personally touched by our mission.

“I first heard of Operation BBQ Relief when our Co-Founder and CEO Stan Hays was featured on CNN in 2017 as a Top 10 CNN Hero. I had just retired and was considering volunteering with several different organizations,” Jim said. “What caught my eye about Operation BBQ Relief, was that they must have served hot meals to my son in Joplin, Mo. in 2011. My son was a military policeman in the Missouri National Guard at that time, and their group was assisting law enforcement during the response to that disaster.”

Shortly after learning about Operation BBQ Relief and our mission, Jim began volunteering at our warehouse.

“It wasn’t glamorous or easy, but the people there believed our efforts should be focused on the victims of the disasters,” Jim said. “Most of the volunteers at the warehouse had been to numerous disaster deployments and had personally witnessed the effect that a hot BBQ meal had on people, many of whom may have experienced the worst day of their lives. It was very sobering.”

In addition to volunteering at the warehouse, Jim also supports volunteer coordination virtually and has volunteered with local events through The Always Serving Project, our initiative that empowers our volunteers, including heroes in uniform and their families, to continue serving their communities year-round and not only during times of crisis. Jim even received the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award for volunteering more than 500 hours with Operation BBQ Relief in 2022.

“I’m not in this for the awards,” Jim said. “What is most important to me is that we continue to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Jim offered words of wisdom for those thinking about volunteering with Operation BBQ Relief. 

“Feeding someone who is hungry, tired, and worn out will change you forever,” Jim said. “I encourage people who are looking to fill that hole in their lives, to look at giving back. You’ll never regret taking time to help lift someone up.”

To register to volunteer, download the “OBR Volunteers” app on your smartphone or visit https://operationbbqrelief.org/volunteer-obr.


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.