Operation BBQ, Salvation Army feed New Hanover County

September 24, 2018

Operation BBQ, Salvation Army partner for food

For people in New Hanover County and the surrounding areas, the need after Hurricane Florence keeps going.

A Wilmington parking lot has become one big kitchen the nonprofit Operation BBQ, based in Kansas City, is cooking.

Sometimes a hot meal is more than just food. It can be a lifeline.

Terry Phillips, a Florence victim, said a free hot meal is “one less thing I have to worry about.”

Operation BBQ is preparing meals for tens of thousands of hurricane victims every day out of the parking lot.

“This is a very large disaster,” said Jeremy Bruce, an Operation BBQ worker. “The issue is with the flooding; the problem is that the waters continue to rise. And the problems continue to increase.”

Clay Steelman, who works with the Salvation Army, agreed.

“We have stories everyday of our canteens going out and coming back and saying, ‘We haven’t had food in a day or two,’” he said.

The Salvation Army distributes the meals on site and through 15 mobile units in five counties -- when the roads are passable.

“What’s really bad is that areas we could get into two or three days ago, we can’t get into anymore because of the flooding,” Steelman said.

Hundreds of volunteers, some hurricane victims themselves, make the work possible.

“If it wasn’t for them, there’s a lot of people who would go without,” Florence victim Randall Simpson said.

The partnership is trying to figure out how to get meals to the flooded areas, and they’re trying to get helicopters to take them in places where their vehicles can’t go.

They will be here as long as the need is here. A new team comes in Sunday for two weeks.

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