First To Know WeatherHurricane Michael


Operation BBQ Relief brings food and water to storm victims

Operation BBQ Relief brings food and water to storm victims
Operation BBQ Relief brings food and water to storm victims
Posted at 7:15 AM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2019-10-02 09:35:27-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Hurricane Michael devastated many communities, leaving those impacted without essentials including food and clean water.

WTXL's Jada Williams was live Tuesday morning where one Missouri-based non-profit is assembling to bring hope and meals to storm victims.

Operation BBQ Relief has already fed tens of thousands of people affected by Hurricane Michael, working long hours to give others hope during hard times.

"Technology is my day job, not barbecue," said Jeremy Bruce, a lead volunteer.

Sweating over a pot of rice and beans may not be Jeremy Bruce's day job, but he's in Tallahassee cooking for Hurricane Michael victims.

"What really makes a difference is that one meal that counts," he said.

And Operation BBQ Relief is cooking that one meal for millions.

"A bunch of grillers got together about seven years ago now in Joplin, Missouri. A terrible tornado had come through there. We all came together, brought all of the stuff in our freezers and pits, and just started cooking for people," said John Wheeler of Operation BBQ Relief,

Now the non profit is stirring up about 40,000 meals a day between the site here in Tallahassee and another site in Panama City.

"There' a few world champions out here in the barbecue world," Wheeler said. "We take pride in what we cook and what we send out. If it were us in their situation, we would want someone taking care of us like we want to take care of people."

Operation BBQ Relief is partnering with the Salvation Army, churches and other relief organizations.

"My mom's house got hit in a tornado," Bruce said. "We went from Georgia to Oklahoma to help out. ... Twelve days later, we left the cook site and have been in multiple deployments ever since."

But many of the volunteers were once on the receiving end and never left.

"We have folks from Maine to California and everywhere in between," Bruce said.

This time, they need more help.

"To do 11,000 meals for lunch, you'll probably need 50 volunteers," he said. "We looked up yesterday and we had 15."

Despite less manpower in the kitchen, the volunteers are showing that they can handle the heat.

There's no set timeline when Operation BBQ Relief will leave Tallahassee, but you can bank on them being here until the end of the week.

If you'd like to volunteer, you stop by the site on 1940 N. Monroe Street or find the link to sign up on our website.