Cook-off succeedsPublished 1:00am Sunday, June 5, 2011
A sunny day welcomed patrons to the first Faith Community Cook-Off & Picnic at Temple of Jesus Christ Fellowship Hall to help raise money for Let the Kids Play Free on Saturday.
Patrons went out to help support and meet the Modern Woodmen of America Challenge as the fun started at noon and went on all afternoon with barbecue and giant inflatables for children to play on, provided by Lee Chevrolet.
There were also free hot dogs, snow cones and popcorn courtesy of Woogies and a Safety House from the Washington Fire Department.
In addition to sponsoring its team with a $500 entry fee, pastor Jay Martin, of Church of the Good Shepherd, announced that the church is contributing an additional $1,000 as a challenge to other area churches.
The Main Street Collection gave a donation of $10,000 to the Let the Kids Play Free Campaign.
Area churches and organizations competed in the barbecue cook-off, where Catherine Glover, executive director for the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, presented the awards to the winners.
The Beaufort County Committee of 100 won first place in the cook-off with its barbecue. Second place was Church of Good Shepherd, and third place was Cornerstone Family Worship Center.
Let the Kids Play Free Campaign is a campaign through the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which is about working to make the cost of youth sports more affordable.
Tracy Mayo, president of the Main Street Collection, said Kids Play Free is a great organization and campaign for the area.
Donald Keyes, the man who had the idea to put the cook-off together, is an avid supporter of the campaign.
“Had it not been for sports in my life as a kid, I don’t know where I’d be,” he said. “I learned how to become a man through sports. Kids Play Free is one of the best things we can do for our community. If there’s something you can do to support Kids Play Free, then do so. Because if we don’t, then a lot of kids will be lost.”
Lydie Jennings, who is helping with the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said she thinks it is a great campaign as well.
“Lydie’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Keyes said. “She never stops moving and is always helping out.”
Jennings and others asked groups to put together cooking teams or individually enter some of the cook-off categories in order to help raise money for the campaign.
According to Mayo, some kids can only play one sport per year because of the high cost of the fees involved. However, many kids don’t even get the chance to play one sport. By reducing the basketball fees from $50 (last year’s fee) to $35, it made it easier for parents to pay this year.
Funds raised from the cook-off will benefit Kids Play Free. Money raised through Kids Play Free is given to the sports leagues so that registration fees for all kids can be reduced.
The second part of the purpose of Kids Play Free is to come together as a faith community to fight poverty one child at a time.
“People you see in the paper under the crime section usually did not play sports when they were young,” Mayo said. “If we can get more kids playing sports, we can keep kids engaged in school, have them graduate and become contributing citizens. As the faith community, we can break the poverty cycle by working together.”
Several ways Kids Play Free can benefit the community is to increase the number of kids playing sports and help reduce poverty. It also promotes good health, breeds good citizenship, keeps kids off the streets and demonstrates community interest in the future, as well as creates smiles and community spirit.
To find out more about the program and ways to contribute, log onto www.kidsplayfree.org.