KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Barbecue sandwich and some comfort.

That’s all the members and volunteers of “Operation BBQ Relief” hope to provide from people surviving a natural disaster.

“I mean, I’ll never forget the first person that thanked me for a pulled pork sandwich. And that’s when I realized, I mean, she actually said it, like, it’s not about the food, it’s about the fact that you guys are here for us,” said Stand Hays, the co-founder and CEO of Operation BBQ Relief.

As the community of Joplin, Missouri looks back at the disaster that happened 11 years ago, Stone Hays also refletcs on a phone call he made to BBQ loving friends 11 years ago to help Joplin, thus forming Operation BBQ Relief.

“That phone call turned into rallying a bunch of competition, barbecue guys, enthusiast, judges, you know, people who had a heart to give to go to Joplin and just start cooking,” Hays said.

They served up their favorite comfort food for those who needed some relief.

“The thought was, we’d be there for four or five days, serve four or 5000 meals, come home, knowing that we made a difference and it ended up being 11 days, and 120,000 meals from a parking lot.

Since the Joplin Tornado disaster, the organization has served more than 9.6 million meals to victims and volunteers of disasters.

Tonight, over food, the organizations leaders met with its sponsors who have supported them over the years while they continue its mission to serve others.

“It was super compelling. So I get a little torn up when I think of what an impact that makes after seeing the devastation we had,” said Chef Michael Ollier of Certified Angus Beef.

Hays said he hopes to continue to help communities hit by natural disasters for years to come, with one BBQ sandwich at a time.

“I tell everybody, whether it’s one meal or you know, 100,000 meals, it’s really the one meal that matters, served 100,000 times, a million times, 9.6 million times. It’s the impact that we continue to make and how it multiplies,” Hays said.

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