By Michael Stewart / Executive Editor
The Meridian Star
Area schools and nonprofit organizations will be the beneficiaries of proceeds from the 43rd Annual Church of the Mediator Barbecue in Meridian Saturday.
"All of the money raised will go into the community," event organizer Leta Palmiter said.
This year marked the 43rd year for the annual fundraiser of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator on 35th Avenue in Meridian.
Bailey resident Georgia Jackson joined the church in 1969, the year of the first Church of the Mediator Barbecue.
"It's about the same now only you didn't have vendors back then," Jackson said. "You had arts and crafts though. It's an awesome event. It brings the church members together and the proceeds help fund charities in Meridian."
Palmiter said for the past 15 years the church has raised an average of $11,000 during each of the annual barbecues.
The church uses the money to fund grants to organizations such as LOVE's Kitchen, Care Lodge, Souls without Soles and Special Olympics.
The money is also used to fund projects at area schools, such as the Sheep to Shawl program in recent years where sheep were brought to Northeast and Southeast Lauderdale County schools and sheared to show children how wool is made.
Palmiter said funds have also been granted to area schools for arts and drama programs.
Baked goods, Boston butts and barbecue plates were on sale at the church Saturday. Outside there were arts and crafts, children's activities and vendor booths.
Meridian resident Sylvia Follis was selling bottles melted in a kiln at 1,450 degrees to create unique shapes.
"I think it is a great event," Follis said. "You get to meet a lot of wonderful people and it is for a good cause."
North River Studio owner B.J. Hatten, of Enterprise, who was selling homemade Christmas ornaments and gifts made from Tiffany stained glass, agreed.
"It's a wonderful event and you couldn't ask for better weather," Hatten said.