Operation BBQ Relief’s visit to Toms River in Nov. 2019. (File Photo)
Operation BBQ Relief’s visit to Toms River in Nov. 2019. (File Photo)

Operation Barbecue Relief will be back in Toms River this Saturday, April 10, 2021, to serve 500 hot meals to needy residents, the group said in an announcement this week.

The meals will be distributed at the Presbyterian Church Toms River parking lot, 1070 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The event was coordinated by DRJ Catering in partnership with the Hope Center,nonprofit organization founded by the Clergy Association of Greater Toms River.

Operation BBQ Relief is a nonprofit organization that was founded in May 2011 in response to a need for tornado relief efforts in Joplin, MO. Competitive pit masters from eight different states answered the call to feed displaced families and first responders. Together, they were able to serve over 120,000 meals in a thirteen-day period, and their work inspired others to join the effort and help those in need across the nation.


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This weekend’s event will be the fifth time that Operation BBQ Relief has helped Toms River. They served meals to Superstorm Sandy victims and came to town on three other occasions to serve needy families in 2018, 2019 and 2020

As recommended by the CDC, the group is practicing social distancing and limiting interactions. The food distribution will be performed drive-through style. Those in need who come for food are asked to keep their windows closed and pop the trunk to have food delivered there, or in the bed of a pickup truck.

“It is so great to be back for a fifth time serving this awesome community,” said David Keith, Area Coordinator for New Jersey, and owner of DRJ Catering. “I wish this were not necessary, but so glad we can be there to serve that one hot meal that matters over 500 times.”

“e are so grateful for DRJ Catering and Operation BBQ helping to feed our residents with a delicious barbecue meal as families continue to struggle because of COVID,” said Toms River Councilwoman Maria Maruca. “They have been a great partner with us in the past and I cannot thank them enough for their generosity to our community.”