Volunteer barbecue chefs in Louisiana are feeding hundreds of thousands of people affected by Hurricane Laura

bbq relief
Volunteers with Operation BBQ Relief preparing chicken to distribute to Hurricane Laura victims in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
  • Volunteers with Operation BBQ Relief are preparing home-cooked meals to deliver to victims of Hurricane Laura in Louisiana.
  • The group's founder estimated they'll make as many as 20,000 barbecue meals a day.
  • Hurricane Laura was the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana since 1865, and could cause up to $12 billion in damages.
  • View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.

In a Walmart parking lot in Lake Charles, Louisiana, volunteers are rubbing down and grilling hundreds of pieces of chicken.

It's part of Operation BBQ Relief, an aid group that's aiming to feed hundreds of thousands of people affected by Hurricane Laura, which ripped through the Lake Charles area in late August.

"Day one was just over 2,000 meals. Last night was just over 6,000 meals. I think our numbers are going to jump up into the 20,000-meal mark," Stan Hays, cofounder and CEO of Operation BBQ Relief, told Business Insider Today.

Volunteers are helping prep, cook, and pack full meals using the barbecued chicken and sides. The meals will be delivered to members of the surrounding Lake Charles community, including first responders and volunteers helping in the aftermath of the disaster.

Hurricane Laura hit Texas and Louisiana in the last week of August, killing at least 26 people and leaving flooding, debris, and extraordinary damage in its wake. 

It was the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana since 1865, and could cause up to $12 billion in damages.

Operation BBQ Relief will continue assisting people in Lake Charles for around 20 days, said head of field operations Joey Rusek.

"We'll be here as long as there is a need to feed. We will stay here to do that," he said. "Once the community starts getting back on their own, the restaurants start opening up, that's when it's time for us to cycle out so they can take care of their own community."

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