Tennessee Valley Volunteers Bring Comfort To Oklahoma Tornado Victims

Northeast Alabama

Photo courtesy Letha Richards

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BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) - In the wake of a disaster, sometimes it is the simplest expression of comfort that can make a world of difference. Sometimes joy comes in the form of a pulled pork sandwich.

Operation BBQ Relief teams travel across the nation to disaster-stricken areas to cook for the families who have lost everything. A five-person team from Boaz returned from Moore, Oklahoma on Saturday.

"There’s no power, they’ve lost everything they got, or their family’s been killed. They’re excited to see a hot meal," said Duke Spain, who leads an Operation BBQ Relief team in Boaz.

With two trailers packed with supplies, 3,000 pounds of meat, canned goods, and equipment they headed to Oklahoma.

Spain's team fed about 25,000 people in Moore. Operation BBQ Relief, as a whole, fed nearly 150,000 people in the area.

"You really don't realize how blessed you are until you get to talk to someone who has nothing," said Letha Richards, an Operation BBQ relief volunteer.

As they handed out the free meals, Richards says she saw families break down from the simple gesture.

"They usually begin to cry and share with you their stories. They'll tell you what they lost or where they were when it happened."

While focused on the task at hand while in Moore, the team says reality hits once they return home and the devastation sinks in.

They say meeting with the children and families who were hurt in the storms was a humbling experience.

"I feel very honored to be able to [help them]. It fills a hole in my heart," said Spain.

Learn more about Operation BBQ Relief.

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