Lynchburg Lends a Helping Hand to Waverly
By Shelly Maynard
When disaster strikes, Lynchburg residents and businesses don’t hesitate to step up, offering a helping hand to those in need. Our town may be small, but it contains some of the biggest hearts the world has to offer. Last week, the residents in Waverly, Tennessee, Humphreys County, and surrounding areas, experienced catastrophic flooding and the devastating loss of residents and the places they called home. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with everyone as they learn to navigate the changes ahead in their lives.
Local resident, Michelle Stubblefield stepped up and immediately began organizing a collection of donations that Waverly residents would need in the upcoming days, weeks, and months to aid in facing a difficult future. Michelle, assisted by Tonya Stephens, helped Lynchburg step up in a big way with donations of water, paper goods, personal cleansing products, non-perishable foods, and more. These items were collected in a horse trailer loaned by Tonya.
When faced with such a tragic loss, the essentials become treasured items. Tangible items will never be able to replace the family members and friends that were lost. Through these donations, the community can begin cleaning up, rebuilding, and allow for a time of mourning. With the flooding taking 20 people and destroying more than 500 homes, the community is facing a long road. Seeing our community offering helping hands to make this journey sting a little less is incredibly an inspirational story.
Jack Daniels Distillery and Miss Mary Bobo’s delivered a generous donation along with BBQ sauce, pies, and hand sanitizer. During an emergency, both businesses gave with open hearts from one community to another, proving that the Volunteer spirit is still alive and well throughout the entire state. They also assisted with the effort of Operation BBQ Relief to provide food and love to our neighbors in need.
Armed with a caravan of cooks, mobile pits, kitchens, and volunteers, Operation BBQ Relief delivers the healing power of BBQ in times of need, feeding first responders and communities affected by natural disasters along with year-round efforts to fight hunger through The Always Serving Project and Operation Restaurant Relief.
Operation BBQ Relief, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded in May 2011 in response to a need for tornado relief efforts in Joplin, MO. Competitive pitmasters and grillmasters from eight states answered the call to feed displaced families and first responders. Together, they served more than 120,000 meals in a 13-day period.
The mission of Operation BBQ Relief continues as natural disasters including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires continue to disrupt and destroy communities. Operation BBQ Relief closely monitors impending natural disasters throughout the United States, staging and deploying assets to serve as soon as possible, usually within 24-48 hours.
Since 2011, Operation BBQ Relief has been deployed 76 times, serving more than 8.9M meals in 30 U.S. states as well as one international deployment to the Bahamas in 2019 following Hurricane Dorian.