Matthew McConaughey is lending a helping hand — and his grilling expertise — to the Los Angeles first responders who are battling the ongoing California wildfires.
On Friday, the “Dallas Buyers Club” actor, who is also the creative director of Bourbon brand Wild Turkey, teamed up with disaster relief organization Operation BBQ Relief to provide hot meals for weary firefighters.
McConaughey and the Wild Turkey team were initially set to be in town to host an event in honor of National First Responder’s Day and to recognize those who helped fight last year’s devastating Woolsey fire. But this most recent bout of wildfires meant they had to pivot their plans.
“Teaming up with Operation BBQ Relief as part of the Wild Turkey ‘With Thanks’ has never been more meaningful,” McConaughey said in a press release. “Little did we know when planning this annual event that California, my second home, would once again be hit by devastating fires."
“We are grateful to be here today to say thank you, shine a light on their unwavering conviction, and hopefully inspire others to get involved and help in their own communities,” McConaughey added.
On Friday alone, volunteers who came out in support of the first responders cooked and prepared 800 turkey dinners, which were then transported immediately to 20 firehouses full of men and women who have been battling the flames since they began last month. An additional 800 dinners were then prepared for local homeless shelters.
According to a press release, an eager McConaughey even got behind the grill at one point and later went on Facebook Live to encourage folks nationwide to show their support for Operation BBQ Relief.
This isn’t the first time that the Hollywood star has helped spread the word about doing good and giving thanks. Last year, McConaughey and the Wild Turkey team thanked first responders from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, surprising them with turkey dinners. And the year before that, McConaughey visited Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, Wild Turkey’s hometown, to deliver more than 4,500 turkeys to residents.
Presently, the Maria fire is the most recent to ignite in California, spreading Friday across more than 9,000 acres in Ventura County; the Easy fire, which sparked Wednesday in Simi Valley, is 80% contained; and the Kincade fire, up in Sonoma County, is 72% contained.