BCA-sanctioned barbecue set to benefit Toys for Tots

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 5, 2015

Members with the Pearl River County Toys for Tots campaign aim to provide toys to children in need just in time for Christmas. This year, they hope to reach more children and raise funds via barbecuing.

Barbecue cooks from all over the region are invited to participate in the second annual Mississippi State Championship BCA- sanctioned Barbecue Competition, which will take place Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Crosby Commons, said Kenny Smith, coordinator for the local campaign.

“It’s a chance for people to come out have a good time and help the children in the community,” Smith said.

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There’s a $150 entry fee for all cooks and up to $5,000 in cash and rewards. The three cook-off categories include half chicken, pork spare ribs and beef brisket. Participants must compete in all three categories in order to be eligible to receive the title of grand champion.

For specific rules, visit www.bcabbq.org.

Besides the competition, there will be family-friendly activities, including live music, fun jumps, raffles and rides. Participants are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs, but no ice chests are allowed.

Each food plate costs $15 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 to 10. The cost includes event activities.

Smith has been the coordinator for the local campaign for the past four years. He became involved through the World Outreach Revival Center. Nearly 25 years ago, the church started a Toys for Tots program and for the past 12 years they’ve been affiliated with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots, Smith said.

An estimated 1,000 children received Christmas presents last year through the local Toys for Tots campaign.

Smith said it’s important to shine a light on the children in need in Pearl River County in order to spread joy this holiday season.

“In this world nowadays, there’s so much harshness and so much hate. This campaign gives us the chance to share some kindness, love and joy with the less fortunate in our area and a way for us to express the joy we feel in our hearts,” Smith said in an interview in November.

The church’s last day to accept Toys for Tots applications from parents or guardians who need assistance in providing gifts for their children this Christmas is today from 9 a.m. to noon at the church at 900 Cayten St.

Smith said they require applicants provide proof of residence, an identification card and their child’s birth certificate. All children less than 12 are eligible to receive toys.

The Pearl River County Toys for Tots campaign raised more than $13,000 last year. All funds were used to purchase toys.

Through the program, each child receives at least 10 items, including one big toy, four medium toys, stocking stuffers, a stuffed animal and a book, Smith said.

Children are selected through the church’s application process and with the help of other local churches, school districts and the county’s Department of Human Services.

Once applicants are screened, they’re invited to a church orientation, so they can find out about toy pickup times and procedures. Smith said they host “shopping days” where parents can pickup toys before the big day.

To register for the competition or request more information, call Smith at 601-590-6494.