Aroma of Barbecue filled downtown Montgomery Friday night

River Region's BBQ Pig Out - Photo by Marc Parker
River Region's BBQ Pig Out - Photo by Marc Parker

Montgomery, AL – The 6th Annual River Region BBQ Pig Out (formerly called the Capital City BBQ Pig Out) was held Friday night at the Union Station Train Shed in downtown Montgomery.

The proceeds benefit Children’s Harbor, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “serve seriously ill children and their families.”

James A. Ray, Executive Director of Children’s Harbor, stated that they have been holding an event in Birmingham for the past thirteen years with the same format, to also benefit the charitable organization.

“We get the community familiar with Children’s Harbor, raise some money, raise awareness,” Ray said. “We involve the whole River Region, not just Montgomery.”

Eight “cook teams” were on hand at the train shed, representing eight corporate sponsors that bought booths (for $1,500 each) where employees prepared BBQ beef, pork, sausage, camp stew, baked beans, and corn-on-the-cob. A “Make Your Own Sundae” booth was set up especially for those with a sweet tooth.

Children’s Harbor had a tent where logo items were sold. Individuals could also donate money in buckets that were set up at each booth. The winning cooking team for the night was CACI (a software company), collecting over $11,000.

Joe Defee with CACI, said that there are construction companies, contractors, banks, and others who participate in this “cook off” and there are numerous employees who look forward to it every year.

CACI's BBQ booth at the Pig Out - Photo by Marc Parker
CACI's BBQ booth at the Pig Out - Photo by Marc Parker

“It’s a big social family event for them and all of the money goes to the Children’s Harbor,” said Defee. “So, it makes our employees feel good that they’re just not out having a picnic, they are actually doing something good.”

Tammy Jackson, Director of Community Relations, also resides at the Lake Martin Campus of Children’s Harbor. Her primary role is to introduce people in the community to the Children’s Harbor’s mission and to recruit opportunities to use the facilities at the Lake Martin Campus.

“We have a 66-acre camp facility on the lake campus and we can provide lodging for over 400 people,” Jackson explained. “We have over 16 illness groups that we provide recreational camping facilities for and everything that we do is free of charge to these families.”

“We recently had a camp for autistic children and one couple had no emotional support from their family,” she continued. “The father of three autistic kids said his mom stops by once a month for a few minutes just to ease her guilt.”

“Well, we can give them a weekend where they can reconnect as a husband and wife and as a family and give them an opportunity to be with others who are going through the same thing so that they do not feel alone.”

With an annual budget of over $2 million, numerous fundraisers throughout the year are held to benefit Children’s Harbor in the many services they perform for children and adults with cancer and other diseases.

Article by Melissa Parker

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