On the evening of December 10, sections of the South and Midwest were ravaged by a series of nasty thunderstorms that birthed a total of 69 tornadoes—one of which traveled over 100 miles and jumped four state lines. Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio all experienced severe drama, but it’s Kentucky that experienced what has been identified as “catastrophic damage.”
Dozens of Kentucky towns were ravaged by a series of tornadoes. Homes and businesses were plowed down. Trees were ripped out of the ground. Power was knocked out for days. Out of the 89 total deaths, 76 were in Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear was forced to call a state of emergency.
Like so many other Americans, Jim Finch was horrified by the images and videos coming out of the Bluegrass State. Out of nothing but the kindness of his heart, Finch loaded his truck with food, water, and a barbeque to drive to Mayfield, Kentucky to serve those in need.
Jim Finch serving others. Credit: The Washington Post.
“I know they don’t have 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. Show up with some food and some water,” he says.
Finch served simple foods—hamburgers, chicken, sausages, and eggs—that were easy for anyone to grab and eat without a fuss. He isn’t a restaurant-owner. He isn’t a professional chef or pitmaster. He is just a man who saw a community that needed help, felt compelled to do something.
When asked by reporters his reasoning for extending such kindness, he simply shook his head and said, “It just needed to be done.”
Jim Finch wasn’t alone on the front lines. Upon hearing about the tragedy, Operation BBQ Relief loaded up their 18-wheelers with commercial smokers and got to Kentucky as fast as they could. The nonprofit has been present for a number of communities impacted by natural disaster. They were in Houston during the unprecedented freeze last winter and traveled to Louisiana and Missouri for Hurricane Ida.
Credit: Operation BBQ Relief
The organization uses smokers bypass the need for electricity and gas and still serve a warm meal to those who need it. To make this possible, Operation BBQ Relief partners with corporations like Hy-Vee, Sunbelt Renters, and Lowes and accepts donations from individuals who want to help.
In a time when all the walls seem to be caving in, little acts of kindness go a long way. A good meal and a friendly smile can make a world of difference. To the people of Kentucky who have experienced such tragedy, these kind gestures make a world of difference.
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