Stan Hays was working in insurance in Missouri when the idea first came to him. It was May 2011, and a tornado had just battered the town of Joplin. He felt the urge to help. So he called up a friend, Jeff Stith. Both men shared a common skill: They were pitmasters on competitive barbecue teams.
"I thought, who better than some guys who set up in parking lots every weekend to bring a comfort meal?" Hays says.