By LYDIA BERGLAR
A Hand Up Ministry will be hosting its third annual Smoke on the Square event on Saturday, September 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to featuring great barbecue, the event also raises funds and awareness for the ministry.
Misty Rooks, one of the main organizers, said, “Our first goal was to do it as a fundraiser, but we realized it was also a way to bring more awareness to the ministry for anyone in the area who isn’t familiar with A Hand Up. Don’t think of it like giving to a ministry; think of it like supporting an individual. There’s someone’s son or daughter whose life is being changed through A Hand Up.”
In the ministry’s words, “We are committed to bridge the gap for persons in our community who have been incarcerated and do not have a support network or adequate/safe housing upon release.” The ministry is heavily involved with addiction recovery programs.
Rooks explained that her husband, Jason, had the idea for the fundraiser when watching the reality show “BBQ Pitmasters.” She said, “We threw it together the first year and couldn’t believe that we raised $11,000.” The second year (2022) raised $13,000 for A Hand Up.
Judges for the contest include several restaurant owners, other volunteers, and experts from the Kansas City Barbecue Society. The categories are ribs, pulled pork, and chicken.
The people’s choice category is pulled pork only. Guests are invited to buy a plate for $10 which features samples of the entries and then vote for their favorite.
Food trucks will also provide barbecue and a variety of other foods, including tacos, wings, ice cream, cotton candy, and other desserts and drinks.
A raffle and silent auction will also be held, with Rooks saying, “We’ve had a lot of support. All of our items are donated from local businesses and individuals. We’ve got some bigger raffle items, like grills, smokers, guns, and a $600 generator.”
A free kids area will have inflatables and an obstacle course, and live music will be performed by Matt Hicks, Backwoods Revival, and Audrey Miller. Local arts and crafts vendors will also have booths set up. With a $35 entry fee, this year’s 5K race will also raise funds for the ministry.
Barbecue, raffle, and silent auction winners will be announced between 3 and 4 p.m.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jason (256-601-9739) or Misty (423-605-6987) with questions.