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The mission of Operation BBQ Relief is to provide compassion and to offer hope and friendship to those whose lives have been affected by disasters across the United States through our expertise in cooking and catering barbecue meals and our ability to quickly mobilize our teams into any area where nature disrupts and tears apart the lives of Americans.
Operation BBQ Relief is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation founded in May, 2011 in response to a need for relief efforts in tornado-stricken Joplin, Missouri. On Sunday evening, May 22, a massive multi-vortex EF5 tornado plowed through the southwest Missouri community of about 50,000 residents, killing over 140 people and injuring more than 1,000. It left a path of almost total destruction six miles long and over a half mile wide. It is now classified as the second deadliest tornado in U.S. history.
In the wake of this nearly unprecedented destruction, competition barbecue teams from eight states answered the call to help feed displaced families and police, fire, National Guard and emergency personnel. The group, headed by Stan Hays (County Line Smokers), Jeff Stith (Big Creek BBQ) and Will Cleaver (Sticks N Chicks BBQ), was able to serve over 120,000 barbecue meals in less than two weeks during the operation in Joplin. Food was served from our location in the community and delivered to shelters, hospitals, senior living communities and the Humane Society. Volunteers also loaded food into vehicles and delivered directly to families in the impacted areas within the tornado’s footprint. The operation was made possible by many businesses who contributed food and supplies and people from across the country who donated cash.