For the 73rd year, the Kiwanis Club of East Brainerd is serving up barbecue to support community organizations throughout the Chattanooga area. This year's event is being held at Tennessee Baptist Children's Home Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
When the fundraiser began just after World War II, club members and volunteers stayed up all night to smoke the meat, said Mike Machaskee, a club member on the board's public relations committee. The club now purchases the barbecue, which this year will come from Choo Choo BBQ. But the event still requires plenty of hard work by around 30 volunteers and 30-40 club members, who weigh, bag, plate and serve orders throughout the two-day event, he said.
For a $10 ticket, people can get either a plate or a bag of bulk food. They can choose from pulled pork, beef or chicken, and plates come with baked beans and slaw.
"It's geared up to be easy to drive in," he said, adding that large orders for groups can be placed until 6:30 p.m. the day of pickup.
Last year's barbecue brought in $48,000 in revenue, and the club's fundraising goal this year is $50,000, said Machaskee.
"We're good stewards of the money, which goes to some of the most vulnerable people in our community," he said, as to why he thinks people should support the event.
The majority of the funds go to Woodmore Elementary, which the club has helped support for at least the eight years Machaskee has been a member.
In addition to contributing funds, the club also hosts a Christmas party for the students. Members choose two to three students' names for whom they purchase gifts, which the children then open at the party while enjoying a visit from Santa Claus. Members also volunteer to read to students during Right to Read Week, and provide the students with T-shirts for the school's field day, said Machaskee.
Funds raised from the barbecue are also used to award grants in amounts ranging from $500 to several thousand dollars to a variety of community organizations the club supports. Grant recipients include The Momentum Network, which offers resources for single mothers in college; Dec My Room, which decorates patients' rooms at Children's Hospital at Erlanger; Chambliss Center for Children; Lana's Love, which organizes fun activities for children with cancer and their families; Chattanooga Audubon Society; Children's Advocacy Center of Hamilton County; Brand of The Cross Ministries, a "cowboy fellowship" church; Girls Inc.; and Bible in the Schools.
Tennessee Baptist Children's Home is at 6623 Lee Highway. To purchase tickets in advance or place a large to-go order, call Machaskee at 316-6819 or Stacy Landrum at 645-1534.
Email Emily Crisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.