A Boise restaurant that teamed up with a national nonprofit to help victims of Hurricane Harvey is back after their planned weeklong trip turned into a 17-day voyage.
Brad Taylor, the owner of BBQ4LIFE, said his crew of six drove 42 hours from Boise to Houston without stopping (only to switch drivers).
"We got to Houston, got about two hours of sleep and then got up and got to work, " he said.
For four days the team cooked meals from early morning until late at night in Texas. But as they were finishing up and about to head home, Hurricane Irma hit.
"So half of our crew went home. The rest of us loaded up our big truck with supplies for Florida and we headed to Florida," Taylor said.
They ended up in Estero, Florida. When they got there, Taylor said much of the surrounding area was still flooded and without power. So they set up and started cooking at the Germain Arena for the next three days.
The BBQ4LIFE team worked with the organization Operation BBQ Relief. It started in 2011 after a tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri. Now competition barbecue teams and volunteers from all over the country join together to cook meals to help victims in these situations.
"When you get a bunch of competition barbecue people together, and a bunch of big cookers, the amount of food we can actually cook, process and get out…it's amazing to watch," Taylor said.
It’s something he’s always wanted to be a part of. In this case, that’s something the Boise community made possible.
The BBQ4LIFE crew asked the community to help with donations, and they came through. In just a matter of days they donated 50,000 pounds of food and supplies.
“I was asked, ‘What was the neatest part about this whole thing?’’ Taylor said. “The coolest part about it, and it really is, that I live in a town where we could make something like that actually happen."