This story originally appeared on Foodandwine.com by Elisabeth Sherman.
As devastating wildfires rip through California, destroying homes, and leaving thousands of people without shelter or immediate access to basic needs like daily meals, Guy Fieri has stepped up the plate to help feed those in need.
You might not expect Fieri, host of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, to be the natural heir to humanitarian José Andrés, but the Food Network star has proven himself to be a philanthropist in his own right. Though Fieri was born in Columbus, Ohio, he currently resides in Santa Rosa with his family and has been supporting the state during natural disasters since at least last year.
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When wildfires hit California in October 2017, Fieri cooked barbecue for victims. At the time, he defended his actions, insisting that he wasn’t staging a “PR stunt.” Now he’s back, this time in Redding, working with the Salvation Army to provide much needed to food to the 36,000 people displaced by the fires.
In an interview with CNN, Fieri said he and one of his sons loaded up his caravan and drove four hours from the wine country to Redding, where they partnered with the Salvation Army to serve lunch and dinner. So far he’s been able to feed at least 750 people, including the crews that have been fighting the fires. He told CNN that the fires have been so intense that he can’t even see the sun.
At the moment, Fieri is working in a makeshift kitchen in the parking lot of Shasta College with about 20 volunteers. Though he’s working with a barebones operation, he says his group, Operation Barbecue Relief, is headed to the area with a few more even bigger trailers, which should help feed even more people. In the meantime, Fieri says he’s focused on keeping the menu “interesting” for people who could use the comfort of a home cooked meal in their lives right now.
This article originally appeared on Foodandwine.com by Elisabeth Sherman.