BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Jarrid Collins is the definition of a man on a mission. The retired Green Beret is running, cycling and hand cycling the 3,000-mile journey from Los Angeles to Tampa, Florida.
The trip is broken down to 60 miles a day for 50 days. Along the way, he and a group of volunteers are making stops in eight cities to serve barbecue.
“We’re trying to feed over 80 and 120 thousand people over 50 days,” said Collin.
“We fed the homeless in Skidrow in Phoenix, several thousand meals there. Next stops were El Paso and San Antonio. That was wrapped around our military and their families," he explained.
No one is excluded from Collins’ meals.
"Then we hit Houston and Hammond which was first responders and just anyone who needed a hot meal,” he said.
It’s the Breaking Bread Tour, the official launch of a new program with Operation BBQ Relief, a non-profit organization that started in 2011. They’ve served more than 3 million meals to those impacted by disasters across the country. Now, they’re expanding their operations, and Collins is the head of the organization’s non-disaster programs.
“Even with disaster, we were able to feed almost 1.3 million meals but over 65 days. So, now we’re going to try to make an impact throughout 365 days of the year,” he said.
There’s nothing that can slow Collins down, even as an amputee. In fact, that’s what motivates him even more to keep pushing forward.
“When I was in the hospital- not knowing if I was going to be able to be a dad, a husband, a soldier, let alone be in active duty as a Green Beret- people invested in me, invested in my family, gave back to us, gave us a hand up," said Collins.
For Collins, every step and every mile of this journey is a way to serve others.
“In times that are a little divisive right now, it’s good to remind folks, that we’re all in this together. We’re all the same. Let’s just sit down, break bread and enjoy a meal together," he said.
On Monday, Collins was on his way to Panama City, which is the last city on the tour before he reaches Tampa. There, he and his team plan to serve thousands of meals to those still recovering from Hurricane Michael.
Once Collins arrives in Tampa, he has no plans to stop. He’ll be participating in the Department of Defense Warrior Games, paralympic-style games for wounded service members and veterans.
You can keep up with the Breaking Bread Tour on Facebook.