A Chattanooga tradition, held on the last Friday and Saturday of July since 1946, will take place once again this week-end. It’s the annual Brainerd Kiwanis Barbecue that continues to be the primary fund-raiser for the Kiwanis Club of Brainerd.
For the second year, the club will set up shop on the campus of The Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home at 6623 Lee Highway. “Last year, TBCH President Bryant Millsaps and I invited the Kiwanis Club of Brainerd to use our facilities for the barbecue after vandals looted their old location,” said TBCH Regional Vice President Carl Willis. “For many years, Brainerd Kiwanis has been a loyal and generous supporter of our ministry to children and teens in crisis in Southeast Tennessee, so TBCH is delighted to return the favor.”
After last year’s positive experience for both the club and the Children’s Home, a second invitation was given to Brainerd Kiwanis to operate their barbecue fundraiser this year on the TBCH campus. The visibility the Children's Home’s location on Lee Highway provide resulted in a $10,000 increase in barbecue ticket sales over the previous year. Visibility was also a major plus in 2011 for TBCH as the Kiwanis barbecue brought many on campus for their first introduction to this longtime ministry of Tennessee Baptist in Chattanooga.
This year on Friday, July 27, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m, Carl Willis, the TBCH staff and volunteers, will host a Family Day on the Chattanooga campus in conjunction with the Kiwanis barbecue. A display of large trucks including fire trucks will be parked on the grass for kids of all ages to examine plus the Life Force helicopter. Many other fun activities will be offered those who come and Mr. Willis says at all are invited. Brainerd Kiwanians, of course, hope that those coming to the family day will also buy BBQ lunch boxes. A shaded area will be provided with tables and chairs for those wishing to eat their barbecue on site.
Again this year, the barbecued beef and pork will be prepared by the club’s corporate sponsor, Sticky Fingers Smokehouse. Each box sells for $7 and has in it a large helping of Sticky Fingers barbecue pork or beef with their signature sauce, a bun, beans and slaw, eating utensils and a napkin. A second alternative is to purchase just the meat and the signature sauce.
When asked why Brainerd Kiwanians have been selling barbecue for 66 years, club President Sandy Maddox said, “It’s all about the kids.”
Each year proceeds from the event are used to assist children and teens in Chattanooga in a variety of ways. In 2012, Brainerd Kiwanis gave grants totaling $14,000 to 11 local agencies that focus on children and teens. Agencies like The Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, Bethel Bible Village, Children’s Home, Chambliss Shelter, Siskin Child Institute, The Cherokee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Bethany Christian Services, Young Marines, VORP, and Special Olympics.
“Our club has adopted Woodmore Elementary School,” Mr. Maddox said, “and throughout the year we fund projects and activities to enrich the learning experiences of the children.” With the Barbecue profits Brainerd Kiwanis also sponsors Key Clubs at Boyd Buchanan High School and Brainerd High Schools and Kiwanis Kids clubs at Hickory Valley Christian School and at Woodmore Elementary.
2012 Barbecue Committee Chairman Stacy Landrum is urging his fellow Kiwanians to make ticket sales a major priority in the days leading up to the Barbecue and during it. “We will sell some tickets at the gate,” Mr. Landrum said, “but tickets sold prior to the event are key to a successful fund raiser.” Last year’s barbecue was one of the most profitable in the club’s long history and club members feel that 2012 could be even better.