'Operation BBQ Relief' feeds competitors at the Warrior Games

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They say an Army travels on its stomach and with the Warrior Games in town all week, we wanted to see who feeds that army of athletes.

Operation BBQ Relief set up their mobile kitchen at the Tampa Convention Center to provide free lunches and dinners for all of the athletes and their Families.

"Operation BBQ Relief is a disaster relief based organization that started after the Joplin (Missouri) Tornado in 2011," said co-founder and CEO Stan Hays. "Who better to set up in a parking lot than a bunch of guys who do it for fun on a weekend?"

Out of that heart of service, was born this non-profit.

"Since then we've gone to 25 different states and done about 64 different disasters and served just shy of 3 million meals," Hays said.

Just last year they served food in the Florida Panhandle following Hurricane Michael.  

True to their name, they provided free meals to bring relief to first responders, power company employees and survivors in some of the hardest hit areas of our state.

But they aren't always seeking disasters.

"Today we're here at the Warrior Games supporting the athletes and their families," said Hays.

This is a first for them, Hays said.

"Earlier this year we launched our what we called our 'Always Serving' project and that is in non-disaster time what we are going to do to help continue impacting communities," he said.

They chose the Warrior Games as a way to touch the military and specifically the wounded warriors who take part in the games.

They've provided meals all week long for all of the competitors there at the Tampa Convention Center. 

So why do they do this?

"The first time a lady came up to me and hugged me with tears in her eyes and said 'Thank You,'" Hays recalled. "That's what I get out of it, that self-satisfaction when someone says thank you."

It takes a big heart to feed a big army of athletes, and Operation BBQ Relief is up to the challenge.

LINK: For more information about Operation BBQ Relief and their different service projects, check out their website.