Barbecue and men may be the natural order of things, but don’t tell the women at the Junior Service League of Beaufort (JSLB). The civic group’s annual BBQ by the Marsh has raised more than $100,000 for local charities.
Now in its seventh year, the finger-licking feast will take place from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at The Arsenal on Craven Street in downtown Beaufort. Proceeds from the event will be distributed as grants to nonprofit agencies and organizations serving women, children and families in the area.
“It’s our signature event,” said Carson Bruce, a member of the JSLB board and service committee chair. “It’s always a lot of fun. We have live music, an open bar and really good barbecue.”
A graduate of the College of Charleston, Bruce helped found the Junior Service League in 2005 with a dozen like-minded friends who wanted to make a contribution to the community.
“We were a very enthusiastic group with a clear vision of helping others,” said the 35-year-old Beaufort resident. “Instead of whipping out the checkbook and giving a donation, we wanted to do something more personal.”
Each spring, the JSLB solicits requests for volunteer assistance from local organizations. This year, they’re helping the Child Abuse Prevention Association and Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse. They also organized a blood drive for the Blood Alliance and a “Prom Boutique” to give high school girls free prom dresses.
After attaining tax exempt status as a nonprofit organization, the group started a grants program to provide funding for local charities. Most of the money available for the grants is raised at the annual BBQ by the Marsh.
“Put a group of women together in a room and they can get amazing things accomplished,” said Bruce, who works for the Savannah College of Art & Design. “The success of the barbecue is a testament to how hard we work.”
Along with their civic projects, the group hosts several social events each year, including a “meet-and-greet” in August, a holiday gathering and an end-of-year celebration.
“We get in our fun time, too” Bruce said. “A lot of great friendships have been born out of the JSLB.”
Tickets to BBQ on the Marsh are $40. This year’s event will feature a barbecue buffet catered by Q on Bay, cocktails, a silent auction and live music by The Broke Locals. To purchase tickets or sponsor the event, visit www.jslbeaufort.org or call 315-7339.