Grilling for Good at Q for a Cause
How two men are using great barbecue to stretch their hands and hearts from Atlanta to Africa
It's a common enough scene: two men standing over a huge smoking grill, hunks of tender meat slowly charring over open flames, hungry people waiting for a bite. But that's where the ordinary stops and the unexpected kicks in. While the barbecue on this grill in Roswell, Georgia, will feed eager onlookers, it will also fill the bellies of 90 children on the other side of the world. "All the money we make from selling our pulled pork goes to the Merciful Redeemer's Children's Home in Nairobi, Kenya," explains Jeff Mette, co-founder of the nonprofit barbecue operation Q for a Cause. "So far we've raised over $10,000, and we're planning to double that this year."
Q for a Cause was born when Jeff and his church buddy, James Stickles, realized they had both caught the barbecue bug. "We started entering and doing well in regional competitions, but we wanted to do more than earn a trophy with our cooking," says Jeff.
"Through our church, we learned about the extreme poverty these children were living in. Being an orphan in Africa means it's near impossible to find a clean cup of water. And the land is so desolate that even if you have food, there's nothing to burn to cook it. So we thought maybe while people here in Georgia enjoy our barbecue, we can impact the lives of these kids."
Through word of mouth and social media, Q for a Cause took off. From day one, the men have sold out of their pulled pork every time they offer it. "We're raising money and awareness but doing something we love at the same time," Jeff says. "And even though it's strangers who are helping them, these kids now know they haven't been forgotten. We've not only been able to feed them, we're sending several of them to high school as well."
Their success, in part, is strategic. "Our best tactic is scheduling the barbecue around large events, such as Memorial Day. We announce that we're selling it, create a high-quality product using our own rub and sauce, get help with packaging and then fill orders like crazy," says Jeff. "During the Super Bowl, we sold more than 450 pounds of pulled pork. Time after time, I turn to James and say, 'We could've sold twice that!' So each time we double the amount of meat, and we keep selling out. It's unbelievable."
While James and Jeff are proud of their success, they're more enthused about the success of the children that they're able to help. "We're genuinely excited that we've found a way to combine our passion with making a difference," James says.
"We're all given gifts," adds Jeff, "and James and I feel that our gift is cooking up some 'cue that people can't seem to get enough of. I think the lesson is that if you're open to giving, no matter how big or small, it can be used to bless people in ways you can't even imagine."
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