Sunday, November 11, 2012

Operation BBQ Relief - Brick, NJ

It was my privilege and honor to volunteer my time at Brick, NJ on November 10th. Brick is one of the staging areas for Operation BBQ Relief, a 501C3 non-profit organization that provides hot meals for victims and first responders at natural disaster sites. This organization was founded in Missouri after severe tornadoes devastated that area. As you are aware, parts New Jersey and New York City was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The site is located at the Brick PAL center which has a full kitchen and hall set up with tables and chairs. I arrived early on Saturday morning and met with Rob Marion, the OPR organizer for this area. Rob paired me with Bob Berrettini (BBQ Bandit) from Mechanicsburg, PA who has been on site since the relief effort here started. In addition to him I saw Rich Decker from Vermont who I hadn’t seen for 3 or 4 years. Rich has also been on site for the past week. My hats off to these three and all the other dedicated volunteers from all over the country who have made it their mission to help others in these times of need. Audrey, from the Pork council was here with pig farmers from Iowa, Indiana and other states. Their large trailer provided space to cook vast quantities of pork loin, bratwurst patties, rolls and other items. Also on site were KC Masterpiece, Jersey Joes BBQ and others that I did not get their names. About 8:30 or so we started unloading a Southern Pride smoker loaded with pork butts that had been cooking all night. Bob started cooking chicken. Rich and crew started slicing pork loins. My job was pulling these butts for serving later. Man, can that smoker hold a lot of pork butts. By now, most of you who read this blog are aware that pork butts are part of the shoulder of the pig, not the other end where hams come from. After hours of pulling pork, some of it was delivered to the kitchen, along with chicken and pork loins. Even more was delivered to the island to first responders manning the check points along with loads of chicken, pork loin and sides. I helped Rich and crew with more pork loins and then it was time to rub and place another load of pork butts on the smoker. This concluded my only day here, but Bob, Rich, Rob, Audrey and others were staying for more days. I was exhausted after one day and can’t imagine how they are doing it. Another function of the site was is a drop off point for donations of clothing, blankets, water and just about anything else that the victims can use. A steady stream of donations and recipients occurred all day, many of them stopping by to ask where we came from and thank us for our time. I have to say that this was a most humbling experience for me and I have the utmost respect for those who put their own lives on hold to spend days on end volunteering to help others. Some may say that this is a divided and even a dysfunctional country that we live in, but in times of need, this country always comes together to help our own. God bless OBR and other organizations that pitch in to help others and God Bless America! For pictures of OBR, click here: OBR Pictures