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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — A couple of Missouri pitmasters are lending a helping hand in Louisiana, spreading the healing power of food in times of need.

“Operation Barbecue Relief” is en route to the Gulf Coast ready to feed first responders and communities impacted by Ida. Their work started a decade ago after the Joplin, Missouri tornado.

“Our perspective on life was a little bit changed after that. Knowing that for 15 minutes or so that a pulled pork sandwich gave them a little bit of normalcy is not something that any of us had some grand idea would happen, but we realized that it’s something to that is so needed. Not just in Joplin but after every disaster,” said Stan Hays, co-founder of Operation Barbecue Relief.

Since Joplin, Hays said Operation Barbecue Relief has been to 30 states across the country, serving more than nine million meals.

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