Man Loads His Truck with Grill and Food to Help Tornado Victims in Kentucky

Following the recent flurry of tornados in Mayfield, Kentucky, it was “all hands to the grills,” as non-profits and individuals alike fired up their BBQs to feed people.

“I just figured I’d do what I can do,” said Jim Finch, a man who for no other reason than that people were in need, loaded his truck with food, water, and a barbeque grill, and drove to Mayfield to serve others.

The tornadoes destroyed thousands of buildings, knocked out power, and thereby refrigeration and restaurant services in the town.

A local reporter found Finch on a particularly devastated roadside, having driven half an hour to cook food for residents.

“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,” said Finch. “Show up with some food and some water.”

Pitmasters to the rescue
Perhaps reflecting the societal value of barbeque in Kentucky, Finch wasn’t actually the only relief-pitmaster to arrive in Mayfield to help. Operation BBQ Relief offers free hot meals on a first-come, first-serve basis to those impacted by these disasters.

Multiple times per year, Operation BBQ Relief loads up 18-wheelers packed with commercial BBQ smokers by Ole Hickory pits and deploys to disaster areas to bypass the need for gas and electricity to serve up massive amounts of hot meals cooked by award-winning barbecue chefs.

Operation BBQ Relief are in Mayfield now, but they’ve previously assisted with Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and Missouri when they served a quarter-million meals.

They were at the unprecedented freeze in Houston last winter, and have on multiple occasions set up to feed frontline healthcare workers during the early days of the pandemic.

One of the first steps to hosting a barbecue is inviting your friends and family.

It’s a tradition borne of togetherness and generosity, of making sure people have enough to eat, and it’s no surprise perhaps that it’s a kneejerk reaction for those witnessing a disaster befall their fellow Americans.