Barbecue season will look a little different this year in the United States. May kicks off National Barbecue Month, but much of the country will still have social distancing measures in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. Barbecue, however, is easily adaptable. Oscar Mayer is encouraging everyone to pull out the grill and partake in a national cookout on May 2 so long as everyone stays at least 12 hot dogs apart. The brand will donate a million meals to the nonprofit food bank Feeding America, and up to another million for each person who posts about partaking in the cookout with the hashtag #FrontyardCookout.
Oscar Mayer showed what a distanced national cookout could look like in an announcement video posted on Twitter: each person with a portable grill at the end of their driveway, waving to the people doing the same across the street. Sure, it’s no traditional Crete antikristo or Chilean open-fire asado, but some barbecue is better than no barbecue — even if that barbecue has to be eaten in the most socially distant way since the Barbecue Council created National Barbecue Month in 1963.
This year, you can help feed some of the people most impacted by food shortages by partaking in the cookout by simply posting a photo of your socially distant barbecue with the hashtag #FrontyardCookout. Food banks are more strained than ever due to the tens of millions of people unemployed from COVID-19 related shutdowns. Feeding America gets meals to more than 40 million Americans every year, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. Oscar Mayer’s million-meal-plus donation and your #FrontyardCookout posts can help keep the US full.
Would it be more ethical for the company to donate the extra one million meals instead of holding them hostage until the public pays with social media engagements? Yes. Yet in this current environment where many of us are trying to help those in need in any way possible, posting about barbecue is no more difficult than staying home to flatten the curve. So whether you light the fire for traditional Texas barbecue or prefer Memphis-style meats, you might as well contribute to the donation drive while letting everyone know you’re not letting the coronavirus get in the way of the start of barbecue season.