Once-struggling family pays it forward on Christmas Eve with BBQ

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — People often feel compelled to give their time and money to various organizations to help those in need during the holiday season. 

One family had enough generosity to serve it by the spoonful, taking to the streets of Grand Rapids to make sure their neighbors in need had food and warm clothes this Christmas Eve. 

Becky and Brandon Kury, owners of the Fennville-based Smoke’N Joe’s BBQ, say the Christmas spirit of giving should be an attitude that lasts all year long. 

“I’ve always said if Christmas spirit is the only spirit you have, I feel sorry for ya,” Brandon Kury said. “The Christmas spirit is what we should have 365 days a year.”

This was their second Christmas Eve spent at Grand Rapid’s Heartside Park, where they served up homemade barbecue handed out warm clothes for anyone in need, free of charge. 

“I’ve been blessed in my life. And paying it forward is what I like to do. Not just at Christmas time. This is something I look forward to doing all year long,” Brandon Kury said. “This is not me, though, I am just the delivery man. If it weren’t for the generosity of our community, of Fennville. We would not be able to help our neighbors like this.”

The Kurys’ BBQ business is a mobile food truck that frequently makes stops throughout West Michigan in the summer. They view their service as a way to help those in need in the cold winter months. 

“I see people that are hungry. And I have a way to fulfill that need and I’m gonna continue to do it,” Brandon Kury said. “These people, this is a horrendous situation they’re in. Especially this time of year, and they’re not forgotten about. That’s why we’re here, we want to let them know that you’re not forgotten.”

That sentiment was not lost on Daniel O’Connell, who has been down on his lucky for a year. 

“It’s nice that people are out there that care,” O’Connell said. “It’s amazing… it’s really amazing. Wish I could do that, but I can’t.”

The Kurys say their philanthropic approach to life comes from their upbringings and a time when they themselves were on the other side of the serving line.

“We have five children and in the past years we’ve struggled before we started the barbecue, and we’ve had times where we went to the food pantry and got items and needed help,” Becky Kury said. “We always remember that.”

The Kurys plan to donate more time and money in the future and they hope to organize monthly events throughout West Michigan. But to do this, they say they’ll need more help.

“We can’t do it alone,” Brandon Kury said. “Our community has been amazing, but if you want to help us, volunteer or have items we can use, please let us know.”

For more information on how you can help, reach out to the Kurys at their page Smoke’N Joe’s BBQ on Facebook.