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Kansas City-area disaster response organizations deploy resources for Hurricane Ian

Operation BBQ Relief co-founder Stan Hays
Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 22:39:26-04

PECULIAR, Mo. — Disaster response teams across the Kansas City area are preparing to answer the call as the nation is on standby for Hurricane Ian and its aftermath.

“We’ve had these drivers and trucks on standby since late last week, so they’ve been there probably since first thing this morning,” said Stan Hays, CEO and co-founder of Operation BBQ Relief.

Operation BBQ Relief has been working to put people and resources in place, taking full advantage of the calm before the storm.

The first wave of volunteers were en route to Dallas on Monday to pick up about 60,000 to 70,000 portions of food ready for distribution.

“We’ll set up a tiny village about the size of two football fields when it’s said and done,” Hays said. “We’re gonna need about 100 to 125 volunteers a day based on what we think, which is gonna be around 30,000 to 35,000 meals a day.”

Hays says this has been a busy season for his staff and volunteers. Some of them will be heading straight from helping in Kentucky to Florida on back to back deployments.

Local volunteers from the Tampa area are currently tracking the storm and scouting for distribution sites.

They will be spread across four to five locations from Clearwater, Florida, all the way to Cedar Key. They have about 1,000 registered volunteers from the panhandle down to the Tampa area that are asked to be on standby.

Otherwise, volunteers will have to be flown in.

“If it floods as bad as they are expecting, Tampa airport could be closed up to two weeks became of standing water on runways and stuff like that,” Hays said.

Meanwhile, American Red Cross Missouri and Arkansas says it already has volunteers on the ground in Orlando, Florida.

The logistics team began setting up operations late last week and volunteers like Kim Mailes, along with six others from the Kansas City area, touched ground this weekend in Orlando.

“We want to be ready for the worst,” Mailes said. “We’re going to have disaster health services, disaster mental health, disaster spiritual care, and then after the storm subsides, we will have disaster recovery teams.”

Kim said experts are predicting a large category storm so they are waiting with bated breath, anticipating weeks of recovery from considerable damage.

“I was just told earlier in the meeting that there will be over 100 emergency response vehicles arriving from all over the United States by Saturday and Sunday," Mailes said. "The advance teams are here now, but there will be dozens more arriving as the storm develops."

Anyone who wants to sign up to volunteer with the American Red Cross can head to its website.

To help people affected by disasters, donations can also be made to Red Cross Disaster Relief. It enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

Visit, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.