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Tornado Victims Receive Much Needed Help From Pitmasters on a Mission

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Just over a week before Christmas, a flurry of tornados hit the Central United States. Most of the damage, however, occurred in a town called Mayfield in the state of Kentucky. It was in Mayfield that thousands of buildings were destroyed, with countless residents being injured. Seventy-six lost their lives due to the tornados.

Among the thousands of buildings destroyed were homes and businesses, which significantly disrupted life for the town of Mayfield. Residents who were well enough to pick up the pieces and start putting them back together had plenty to do, but they didn’t have plenty to eat, unfortunately. For the buildings that were spared, there was still no hope. Without utilities, there was no way for perishables to receive the refrigeration they so desperately needed.

It was at this realization that pitmasters began loading up their trucks, hauling thousands of pounds of food to the hungry residents of Mayfield. Behind them they towed their grills, and they were ready to get to work!

In a video that’s been largely shared since the incident, a man by the name of Jim Finch shared his concern and love of his fellow man. “I know they don’t have no electricity, so that means they don’t have no electric, no restaurants, no running water, so I just figured I’d do what I can do. Show up with some food and some water.”

His actions may seem small, however, they’re more significant than Jim may have known. That willingness to help others in need, especially during this time of the year, is something for everyone to strive for. Jim Finch willingly served a community that he wasn’t a part of, because they had gone through something that couldn’t be prevented.

Jim wasn’t the only person to answer this call. In fact, pitmasters from all over the area understood the need to feed the hungry victims of the tornados.

The art of barbecue may be considered to be a luxury, but in reality, it’s a survival skill to be shared. The act of cooking over fire to provide food to those who don’t have it is noble, and it is the basis of Operation BBQ Relief.

Operation BBQ Relief is an organization based in Missouri that is dedicated to serving hot food to disaster survivors. The food is free, and given to those in need on a first-come, first-serve basis. The scale of Operation BBQ Relief is massive. They don’t show up in pickup trucks. They’re ready to tackle large disasters, like the Mayfield tornadoes, with semi-trucks hauling trailers full of food, wood, and industrial-sized smokers.

In the past, Operation BBQ Relief has helped with other major natural disasters, like Hurricane Ida in Missouri and Louisiana. They also helped during the Houston freeze, an event that caught nearly everyone off guard. When it was permitted, they even helped feed those in need during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No matter which way you look at it, the willingness to help strangers in need is something that should be valued. Operation BBQ Relief may be doing it on a grand scale, but that doesn’t belittle the impact that individuals are able to make, as well. It’s because of people like Jim Finch that our communities are able to make it to the other side of tragedies. 

Everyone goes through highs and lows in their lives, and everyone needs a bit of help from time to time. It should be the goal of anyone who’s doing well to help others who are not. People like Jim Finch are an example.

 

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