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How Many Volunteers Does It Take to Make the Annual Chicken BBQ Come To Life?

We are looking back at the first twenty years of the Collins Children's Home Annual Chicken BBQ in this 2003 Journal article by Anne Rackley. (Psst...the 38th Annual Chicken BBQ is around the corner. Be on the lookout for updates coming soon)

Celebrating twenty-three years of “rescuing children and helping families in crisis” and twenty years of serving delicious chicken to over 1,200 folks at the annual chicken barbecue fundraiser each year is something to “crow” about.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

How Long Does It Take to Cook 1,500 Chicken Halves?

It is hard to believe that this year’s event completes 20 years of selling tickets, cooking chicken, and serving good food and fellowship to our supporters in the community. We increased the total number of plates to 1,500 this year. Someone asked, “How long does it take to cook 1,500 chicken halves?”

This simple version of the answer is – twelve hours if you use a capable crew of volunteer cooks who really know how to do chicken right. Of course, it makes a tremendous difference on cooking day if you have access to Joe’s secret spices and wet mop sauce.

How Does the Big Day Begin?

The big day begins when Joe, Mike, and B.K. start the fire about 4 a.m. When the other volunteer cooks begin to arrive at 5:30 to 6 a.m. to place the first 300 chicken halves on the racks, everyone prays for good weather.

How Many Volunteers Does The Chicken BBQ Event Need to Go Off Without A Hitch?

The 2003 cooking crew included Curt Davis, Bill Mays, Milford Hackett and his friend Glenn, David Carver, Jonathon Redmond, Stewart Baylor, Steve Franklin, Darryl Justice, John Peters, Dean Buckley, and Bill Brunson. Rusty Guill, John Peters, Don Brietzke, Chuck Lee, Chris Sieverdes and Tim Sevick. Clemson students who assisted were Drew Niederriter, Peter Brown, Mason Ailstock, Zac Doyle, David Rosenthal, Justin Batt, Justin Hellwig, Loran Rogers, Rusty Curry, Matt Mills, and Holly Smith.

In the kitchen, at Northside Elementary School, Lois Long shared her expertise with Polly Massey, a.k.a. “the Boss.” Other volunteers who worked in the kitchen with Polly were Wanda Reed, Frida and David Carver, Lisa Moore, Brad Reed, Ken Collins, Neil Byerley, Sally Jernigan, Margaret Workman, Pat and Clyde McCall, Earle Ambrose, Bev Sevick and Archie Newberry. Lisa Hartman bought several young people from St. Lawrence Chapel Methodist Church in Six Mile.

Serving tea were Rich and Carol Albrecht, Ken Stuursma, Stephen Tompkins, DeLinda Franklin, Bill and Sandra Sandifer. Rich’s daughter Lori, and husband Ken, who was visiting from Ohio, made it a real family affair with Albrecht’s grandchildren Emily, Cali, and Jake assisting the children and teenagers from both children’s homes by helping folks carry plates and drinks.

Behind the Scenes Volunteers for the Chicken BBQ

Some of the best “behind the scenes” volunteers are those who bag cookies and chips two days prior to the event. We are thankful that we can always count on Frida Carver to be in charge of this task.

Her assistants this year included Jo Anne Rogers, Mike, and Joyce Bell, Yvonne Martin, Joe Dee and Peggy Quarles, Kathy Kuhman, Pat Thrasher, Steve and Evelyn Rochester, Dotty Russell, Wanda Wald, Clark and Laura Oliver, Bill and Manesa Short, Alison Hearl, Wanda Ludlam, and Carol Albrecht.

Scott Crowe took photos everywhere. Housemoms Leah Crowe and Tina Justice took care of the children and helped elsewhere when needed.

Greeters and ticket sellers at the front door were Niles Workman, Elisabeth Newberry, and Norm Reid.

How Many BBQ Tickets Can One Man Sell over Twenty Years?

Of course, when it comes to selling tickets, Niles Workman and Neil Byerley are our number one team. Nobody knows more about how to sell tickets than Niles. We estimate that Niles has sold close to 120,000 tickets in the last twenty years. Oh my, the stories we could tell about his adventures. I have actually witnessed scenes where Niles would walk into a business establishment and folks would ask, “How many tickets do you want me to buy?”

What are the Financial Impacts of Corporate Sponsors for the Annual Chicken BBQ Event?

We wanted the twentieth fundraiser to be something really special – a grand event. I am so glad we called on Elisabeth Newberry to make it happen. Because of her efforts in obtaining corporate sponsors, this year’s event net proceeds doubled last year’s total of $12,500 – that’s right – double. $25,000 for one event is a remarkable accomplishment and a great way to celebrate twenty years of good food and great fellowship with a caring community.

Counting the Many Ways Our Community Helped Us in the First 20 Years (and Beyond)

None of this would have happened without those of you who bought tickets and joined us for dinner. To date (2003), we have raised over $175,000 through the twenty annual chicken barbecue fundraisers. It is interesting to note that our net proceeds in 1983 were $4,000 and we sold all of the 1,200 tickets. What a difference “in-kind” sponsors make in a successful fundraiser!

2003's “in-kind” sponsors included Amick Farms, Francis Produce in Greenville, Jeff Hall from Clemson University, our friend Larry White at Winn-Dixie in West Union, Larry Thompson at BI-LO in Seneca, The Quattlebaums at Just More BBQ in Pendleton, Herb Tyler at Chick-Fil-A in Seneca, and Frank at Paesano’s in Seneca.

Your Efforts Provide More Than Money

And a special thanks to that person whose name I left out – whoever you are – I will remember it after the paper is circulated! May God bless all of you sharing your time and resources to assist us as we help those who cannot help themselves.

As a supporter, you help at-risk children and families resolve critical issues through counseling and other family services offered by our on-campus outreach programs.

Your efforts provide more than money. Your support enables Collins Children's Home to rescue children from painful situations and to provide safe, loving nurturing homes where they can learn, grow and thrive.

With your support, we have created a home environment where these children are part of an extended family in a community that cares for and supports them. As a supporter, you help at-risk children and families resolve critical issues through counseling and other family services offered by our on-campus outreach programs.

We thank you for every kind deed and prayer. Working together, we will continue to make a difference.


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