Senators BBQ cook off benefits military families - - Jackson, MS

Senators BBQ cook off benefits military families

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Needy military families will benefit from a heated contest over grills between Mississippi senators.

The barbeque competition was held Monday at the Old Mississippi Capitol.

Senators Willie Simmons of Cleveland and Tony Smith of Picayune tested their culinary skills to find out who's the best at grilling in the North versus South Barbeque Cook Off.

Senator John Polk of Hattiesburg, who owns Polk's Meat Products, provided the food for the barbeque contest.

Both Simmons and Smith are restaurant owners.

Lawmakers sampled barbeque chicken, ribs and sausage while smoke from the grills spread across the lawn of the Old Capitol.

The three senators raised money for the Mississippi Military Family Relief Fund by getting donations from their legislative colleagues.

Officials said 103 families had been assisted since 2009.

During that time, more than $79,000 has been raised for the fund.

"We've challenged the state representatives and senators today to come and bring a wad of some dollar bills, and as they eat we're asking them to donate the money and at the end of the day we're gonna count it up and see how we did," said State Sen. Tony Smith (R) of Picayune.

"I was in the army, spent a little time in Vietnam and I understand the challenges that a family has when we're off serving, and we wanted to have some fun and at the same time do something good for the families who are serving," said State Sen. Willie Simmons (D) of Cleveland.

"If their warrior is deployed overseas, and the family has needs. In other words if a washing machine breaks or a car won't run they can make applications to the Mississippi Military Department for Family Relief," said MS National Guard Brigadier General Robert Thomas.

"Just today I was talking to the general about some needs for a family that needs an air conditioning unit. It had gone out and so they have no heating or air in the house. We were able to take some of this funding and go out and help them," said Governor Phil Bryant.

The cook off raised over $13,000.00.

Organizers said the winners were the military families.

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