Dwayne Salsman moved quickly through his kitchen Saturday morning; dirty pans everywhere and daughter Loni helping him navigate the mess to gather their tools for the day.
Salsman’s son Willie was close by bringing supplies and large containers of steaming beans out to the family’s pickup truck before hitching up a large, puffing smoker to the back.
The Salsmans’ new weekend tradition with little room for error.
“This is week number three,” said Salsman.
The third week of Salsman and his kids barbecuing to pay the bills.
Several months ago, the single father of three teens began dealing with several medical issues.
"I kind of had some blockage problems,” said Salsman. ”The day I went into the cardiologist, I had a stroke in his office.”
He had to undergo several heart surgeries and still has another bypass on the way.
During the ordeal, to make the situation more taxing, Salsman lost his job.
“When I got out I was met at the door with a 3 day notice to vacate from my house,” he said.
Before he could start thinking up solutions, Salsmans’ kids had already started making their own: putting out the call on social media to friends and neighbors that they were prepared to do any chores or work they could get.
"I'm not real healthy right now, and my kids, they pick me up and they keep me going, and when I can't go more, they step in and keep me going,” said Salsman.
"He's done so much for us. Without my mom it's been very hard on him, I know, and I'm thankful I've got him as my dad,” said Loni Salsman.
Some of their Sendera Ranch neighbors donated some bikes to the teens to get to and from the multiple jobs they were taking on while others donated whatever supplies they could to help the family through the tough time.
Then, Salsman decided to take a big gamble to try and save their house: he sold his boat and several other items to buy the large smoker, meat, and supplies for barbecuing.
The family got to work.
Three weeks ago they set up the smoker at the neighborhood’s community area off of Sendera Ranch Boulevard accross from CVS and began cooking for the neighborhood and taking donations to their cause.
The response was unlike anything they ever expected.
"Man, thank God, they came out to eat my barbecue, and they loved it,” Salsman said.
Neighbors came out in full force. By week two many brought others in on word-of-mouth about the great food.
As they set up Saturday for another day of slinging meats, they were already expanding for week three, cooking extra meat to have plenty through dinner time and even planning to set up on Sundays too.
They’ve gotten so much support and donations, Salsman has even begun talks to get a store front in the area and start a full-time restaurant.
Though the tough times are far from over with more medical work ahead and funds still very tight, the family can see a light at the end of the tunnel and are growing confident the future will be bright thanks to their work as a family and their support from the neighborhood.
“Without the people here we’d be homeless on the street,” said Salsman.
The family also has a Go Fund Me page to help cover costs.