Operation BBQ Relief Has Returned to West, Texas; Serving Hot Meals to Displaced Families, Emergency Workers

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In response to last week’s explosion and resulting devastation in West, Texas, Operation BBQ Relief mobilized a disaster response team to serve hot, nutritious meals to displaced families, emergency workers and volunteers. The charity is asking for donations and volunteers to support its work as it responds to this disaster and prepares for the spring tornado season.

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This morning, the volunteer “responders” received word that there were 75 displaced school children (currently living in a hotel) that were not able to get breakfast before school. The team raced into action and whipped up breakfasts delivered them.

In response to the explosion and resulting devastation in West, Texas, Operation BBQ Relief mobilized a disaster response team to serve hot, nutritious meals to displaced families, emergency workers and volunteers. The nonprofit began serving meals on April 18 and had initially wrapped up its work this past Monday. However, they were asked to return when other relief organizations were not able to fulfill the need.

“One of the leaders from the VFW called and explained the situation to our volunteers, and within a matter of a few hours we were back onsite and cooking for dinner,” said Bryan McLarty, a volunteer leading the charity’s disaster relief team in West, Texas.

In its first days on the ground in West, Operation BBQ Relief served close to 6,000 meals in 3 days, including catering two memorial services for fallen firefighters.

In a single night they cooked 1,000 chicken legs, 50 pounds of wings and 50 pounds of sausage, enough for approximately 500 dinners for those in need.

This morning, the volunteer “responders” received word that there were 75 displaced school children (currently living in a hotel) that were not able to get breakfast before school. The team raced into action and whipped up breakfasts and delivered them to the school.

Operation BBQ Relief plans to be in West the rest of this week and possibly all weekend.

The meals are being prepared at VFW Post 4819, located at 715 S. Reagan Road in West, Texas. In addition to serving meals at that location to those in need, meals will be delivered to other designated locations which are helping the victims, emergency workers and volunteers.

Donations and volunteers are needed to support this work. Donations can be made online at OperationBBQrelief.org. To sign up to volunteer, go to the charity’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/OperationBBQRelief.

Donations of items are also sought from individuals and businesses in the area. Items needed include aluminum foil, aluminum pans, extra-large disposable Nitrile gloves, three-compartment clamshell containers, flatware combo packs, gallon-size cans of vegetables and beans, and meat (such as chicken and pork butts).

Operation BBQ Relief was established in 2011 after the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo., which is south of Kansas City—one of the nation’s major barbecue capitals. BBQ pit masters (that normally fire up their equipment for competitions) are experts at cooking outside in any condition and serving large quantities of food at events.

Utilizing these pitmasters and a network of volunteers, Operation BBQ Relief provides hot meals to people affected by disasters across the United States. Through its expertise in cooking and catering barbecue meals—and thanks to generous donors and sponsors—the not-for-profit is able to mobilize quickly to any area in need. The organization was created after the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo. Last year it served more than 100,000 hot meals in New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The nonprofit has been working to raise funds and prepare for the spring tornado season, but did not hesitate to respond to the need in West, Texas. Donations are needed to be able to respond to this and future disasters, wherever they might strike. To give, go to OperationBBQrelief.org.

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Hannah Gregory, Media Rep for Good Causes
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