BBQ & Bourbon will benefit Cancer Pathways Midwest
EVANSVILLE – There’s not much better than sitting down to a bountiful barbecue dinner, except, possibly, first having a cooking class with a renowned pitmaster, noshing on appetizers, and then having the barbecue dinner. You can do it all and benefit a great cause at the BBQ & Bourbon Cooking School and Dinner for Cancer Pathways on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Cancer Pathways began in 2014 as a local chapter of Gilda’s Club, which was brought to Evansville with the help of Ann and Randy Moore after Ann was diagnosed with cancer.
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“Ann knew she’d be cared for because there are so many organizations for those with cancer,” said Kalah Schmitz, development and operations director for Cancer Pathways. “But there wasn’t much support for their family and friends. So, they went on a search and found Gilda’s Club, which was a national group, and helped bring it here through community support.”
The mission is to support and provide resources for anybody that has been impacted by cancer, which includes the patients’ family, friends, and even co-workers − all free of charge.
In 2021, the organization changed to Cancer Pathways Midwest and is now 100% local, so all the money and support stays here. Since then, the demand for services has skyrocketed.
“We’ve had a huge increase,” Schmitz said. “A lot of people didn’t know who Gilda Radner was, and also some people thought it was only for women, so we’ve seen many more men come through the door.”
Services Cancer Pathways provides include access to mental health professionals, support groups for family and friends who are living with cancer and living beyond cancer. There are wellness activities such as tai chi and yoga, educational classes including cooking, and even “pre-vivor” groups for those who have found they have genetic markers for cancer and are considering preventative measures, to name only a few.
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The BBQ and Bourbon class and dinner will happen at the Vanderburgh 4-H Center auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 25. Participants may attend either the class, the dinner or both.
Jim Johnson is a grand champion competition pitmaster who travels the world teaching American barbecue and grilling techniques for the Kansas City Barbecue Society. He supports many organizations with fundraisers, and a friend suggested Cancer Pathways would be a cause he might like to help. He did three smaller fundraising dinners in November at the clubhouse.
“Those went well, so we put together this bigger VIP dinner and cooking class,” he said. “It’s going to be a nice night. We’re hoping for at least a couple hundred people or more. One of the dinners we did in November covered the costs for three people to go through this program for a year at no cost, but they have big numbers and they need more help.”
The cooking class will begin at 2 p.m. Johnson will grill steak and tri-tip, serving appetizers, and sharing other techniques such as knife skills and how to hold a knife, how to tell how done your meat is by touch, and more.
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The dinner and silent auction will begin at 5 p.m. The menu will be appetizers, pulled pork and ribs, baked beans, slaw and other classic barbecue sides, cinnamon rolls and bread pudding, all cooked by Johnson, and a Bourbon specialty drink from Dusty Barn Distillery in Mount Vernon.
Non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary, and more Bourbon will be available at additional cost.
Tickets are $75 for either the class or the dinner, or $130 for both. A table of eight for dinner is $600. Tickets should be purchased by Sunday, Feb. 19.
BBQ & Bourbon Cooking School and Dinner fundraiser for Cancer Pathways Midwest
- When: Saturday, Feb. 25, 2020, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
- Where: Vanderburgh 4-H Center, 201 E Boonville New Harmony Road
- Tickets: $75 for either the class or the dinner, or $130 for both. Purchase by Feb. 19.