ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - It was last Thursday night when Deborah Key noticed the 16 foot barbeque cooker wasn't parked in her backyard anymore.
"That's when I called the police and told them God's grill was gone," Deborah said. She believes someone came into her back yard during the night when she was out of town, and stole the giant grill which sits on a trailer.
The meat cooking machine had served dutifully for 8 years providing food to those in need. Feeding the Hungry is a non-profit run by Dr. Ronal King. Deborah and most of her family serves as volunteers for the group.
The group used the cooker to make dozens of Boston Pork Butts and turkeys for hundreds of events through the years. Sometimes, they just cook and give away the food for free. Sometimes they hold fundraiser events to raise money to go back into the organization.
"It's God's grill, it doesn't belong to a human being," Deborah said. "This grill was designed to help God's people meet their needs in this community. It tears my heart up, because I don't know how we're going to replace this," Deborah said through a stream of hopeless tears.
The group has a huge benefit planned next month where they were planning to serve food to hundreds of people. But now their grill is gone.
I got an idea.
Two years ago, I did a story totally unrelated with one of the best known BBQ men in Gaston County. Kyle Fletcher was as nice as he could be back then.
His manager Steve was as nice as he could be, today. "I do have one grill on wheels I can let them borrow," Steve said over the phone. Kyle Fletcher's BBQ in Gastonia offered to loan the group some firepower.
I told Deborah and her tears turned into a huge smile.
"We fixin up a mess of food and now we will have a grill big enough to cook that food, and feed those people and love on them," Deborah said.
The York County Sheriff's Office says they're investigating the theft. Deborah hopes someone will come forward to help replace it, or she says she'd even forgive the thief if they brought it back.