Man who fed thousands after Hugo searching for stolen cooker

VIDEO: Man who fed thousands after Hugo searching for stolen cooker
Source: Jamie Westendorff
Source: Jamie Westendorff
Source: Camp Happy Days
Source: Camp Happy Days
Source: Jamie Westendorff
Source: Jamie Westendorff

WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - A West Ashley man who cooks for several charities and feeds those in need, had his cooker stolen Tuesday morning.

He says he's not the victim.

"It's not really my grill, it's all those little kids for muscular dystrophy and Happy Days," said Jamie Westendorff.

For more than 35 years, Westendorff has cooked and grilled for charities like Ronald McDonald house, Camp Happy Days, the American Red Cross and more.

When he got to his shop Tuesday morning and saw his $6,000 cooker missing, he knew what happened.

"It was that kind of sinking feeling, you know?" Said Westendorff. "That grill has cooked everything you can think of, from steaks to lobsters to crab cakes."

When you step inside his shop, you see just how much he helps the community.

"That was a camp in Rankin, Georgia," said Westendorff, pointing to pictures that cover his walls. "That was a coalition for people with special disabilities."

Charleston Outdoor Catering is his business. He earns his money catering events.

But, he does most of his events for free.

"I'd say 400 or 500 parties a year for free," said Westendorff.

When people need help, Westendorff provides more than just his cooking and grilling abilities. He often provides the meat.

"Sometimes they don't pay for anything," said Westendorff. "Or, they pay what they can pay."

During Hurricane Hugo, he cooked.

"I set up in Marion Square," said Westendorff. "We fed 50,000 people in 10 days."

One of his favorite charities is Camp Happy Days where he cooks for kids battling cancer.

"You go anywhere, you say 'Jamie Westendorff,' they know him," said Teresa Bishop, with Camp Happy Days. "They know him for his food and they know him for his love."

To many, he's part of the heart and soul of Charleston.

"Whoever did that, just know: if you would've asked Jamie for help, he would have helped you," said Bishop.

"Bring back my grill and I won't say a word," said Westendorff. "I'll just be ever so happy."

Just West of the Ashley sits his shop. You've probably seen him outside waving.

With or without that grill, he says he'll continue to offer a helping hand.

"I'm pretty resilient," said Westendorff. "I've got that old Charleston tenacity."

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