Operation BBQ Relief is among the 51 nonprofits – one in every state and Washington D.C. – selected for the fifth annual Tom's of Maine “50 States for Good” community giving program.

The 15 nonprofits with the most votes will each receive $10,000 to develop and grow important community projects and services. The public can show support and vote daily at 50StatesforGood.com through Oct. 15, 2013.

Operation BBQ Relief will be asking its supporters and help encourage others to do the same through social media.

"Our supporters are among the most generous and caring you can ask for," says Stan Hays, co-founder and executive director. “They make donations when disaster strikes, show up to volunteer to help those in need, and help spread the word.”

Hays is hoping this will translate to online votes that will increase their chances of being in the top 15. People can vote using Facebook and a link is provided on Operation BBQ Relief's Facebook page at Facebook.com/OperationBBQRelief.

“Everyone in the Kansas City area and in the barbecue world should feel honored that they are represented among the other 50 amazing causes,” Hays added. “We can say strongly that $10,000 will go a long way toward helping to feed the masses when disaster strikes.”

Operation BBQ Relief was established in 2011 after the devastating tornado in Joplin, which is south of Kansas City—one of the nation’s major barbecue capitals. BBQ pit masters (that normally fire up their equipment for competitions) are experts at cooking outside in any condition and serving large quantities of food at events. By firing up the grills to help, Operation BBQ Relief was born and volunteers began cooking BBQ and serving hot meals to the storm’s victims as well as the hundreds of emergency workers and volunteers who were on scene to help.

Utilizing these pitmasters and a network of volunteers, Operation BBQ Relief provides hot meals to people affected by disasters across the United States. Through its expertise in cooking and catering barbecue meals—and thanks to generous donors and sponsors—the not-for-profit is able to mobilize quickly to any area in need. The organization was created after the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo. Last year it served more than 100,000 hot meals in New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

More recently, Operation BBQ Relief responded to the explosion and resulting devastation in West, Texas, as well as in Moore, Okla., after the deadly EF5 tornado destroyed the town and left thousands homeless—serving nearly 32,000 meals in just three days.

To learn more, go to operationbbqrelief.org.

From a pool of nearly 1,000 nominations, finalists were chosen by a judging panel of passionate leaders in the nonprofit community including Sam Davidson, president of Cool People Care, nonprofit strategist and Huffington Post columnist, Lisa M. Dietlin, Matt Petronzio, assistant features editor covering social good for Mashable.com, and star of "The Vampire Diaries" and nonprofit founder Ian Somerhalder.

For the first time, volunteers and nonprofit employees will also be showcased as part of an interactive voting platform that includes information about why the public's support will make a difference. This national community giving program allows the public to direct where all of the funding goes. 

To date, the 50 States for Good community giving program has benefited 5.5 million people and dozens of communities through projects as diverse as tree planting, sustainable hiking trails, a community orchard and meals for neighbors in need.

For several decades, Tom's of Maine has donated 10 percent of its profits back to the community and encourages employees to use 5 percent (12 days) of paid time off to volunteer every year. For more information, visit tomsofmaine.com.