Operation BBQ Relief serves hope to the community

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Operation BBQ Relief was at Mosley High School Sunday serving barbecue to people in the community.

This image shows people being served barbecue by volunteers at the Operation BBQ Relief event Sunday. (WJHG/WECP)

"Barbecue reminds people of a neighbor's party, a family gathering, that you can get through this with the help of others, that you're not alone," said Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Operation BBQ Relief Will Cleaver.

This isn't the first time the non-profit has stopped in the Panhandle.

"We were here last year during the hurricane, you know, spent about 30 days here, served several hundred thousand meals, and, you know, when we put together the Breaking Bread tour we knew that we just needed to come back here and find a way to make an impact in this community," said Head of Non-Disaster Programs for Operation BBQ Relief Jarrid Collins.

They said they came back because they knew the area was still in need almost eight months later.

"The need's still there, people still need help, and we're just happy to be here and provide those meals for them," said Cleaver.

Volunteers from the community and the Operation BBQ Relief team showed up to provide food for thousands of people.

"They just appreciate having a meal, it gives them a break, it's one less thing they have to do today and they can get back to other things that are more important...cleaning up, whatever it may be, just to kind of reconnect with their own family and reconnect with the community," said Cleaver.

They say they hope events like this will shed light on just how much work is still to be done in the Panhandle.

"I don't think people across our nation really understand just the depth and the breadth of what's still going on here, you know, so we're hoping that maybe this helps bring a little awareness to what's going on here," said Collins.

The group showed Sunday that a little barbecue can provide a lot of hope.

Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.