Sugar Plant BBQ Benefit Sells Out in an Hour - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Sugar Plant BBQ Benefit Sells Out in an Hour

Doors opened at 11am and by noon, the food was sold out. Doors opened at 11am and by noon, the food was sold out.

GARDEN CITY, GA (WTOC) - Today, Garden City United Methodist Church hosted a barbecue benefit for Imperial Sugar Plant victims and employees. It was supposed to last all day long. But it ended a lot earlier than members planned.

People came, they donated and they ate, maybe too much, all in the name of the refinery victims and their families.

"Oh, it just feels like we are so blessed and so thought upon," Beverly O'Neal told WTOC.

Beverly was one of 30 sugar plant workers invited to come and help serve food to the community at the church. These kinds of benefits have been almost constant since last month's explosion.

"I just appreciate everything everybody does," Beverly said. "They came out in droves."

Doors opened at 11am and by noon, the food was sold out. The benefit was supposed to run until 7pm, but organizers say if they are out of food, they are out of food.

"No, I wish we could, but we won't have enough food left," organizer Bryce Bunting said.

Bryce says he adjusted plans several times, hoping to accommodate a large turnout. But he wasn't ready for this.

1,200 meals ended up not being enough, and some people had to be turned away. Donations continued to pour in. Bunting says the headache and hard work has been worth it, especially standing beside workers from the plant.

"The sugar plant was my customer and they are good friends, and I feel I needed to do something," Bryce said.

"I just feel so loved by the community," Beverly said. "They really stood by us in a time of need, they really did."

The support continues. Blood drives, benefits, donations. Beverly says it is all helping make families of the sugar refinery get back to some kind of normal. "It's going to get better. It's getting better already," she said.

In the end, more than 1,400 dinners were sold and more than $10,000 was raised, and that is just counting the $7 a plate. 100 percent of the proceeds raised today go to the families and victims of the sugar plant explosion.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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