CONYERS — Arriving at Conyers First United Methodist Church before 6 a.m., the Shane’s Rib Shack Conyers team as well as volunteers from United Way, Conyers Rotary, High Priority Plumbing and other community stakeholders started to prepare for their Thursday lunch service.

But this wasn’t just any lunch, this was United Way’s 19th annual BBQ Fundraiser to provide support and aid to more than 4,500 kids in Rockdale County who are identified as being food insecure.

Around 9 a.m. Rockdale Career Academy’s culinary pathway students came to help.

With the guidance of their instructor Rian McDonald and Shane’s general manager David Maiolo, 37 RCA students were able to prep, plate and serve more than 1,200 BBQ meals.

Patrons had the choice of dining in, pick-up or delivery.

Lunch was to be served starting at 10 a.m., making the first delivery by 9:40 a.m.

The organization to order the most plates, making the largest donation, will be given the grand pig trophy to have until next year’s fundraiser.

Tallies showed Sealy Mattress Company in Conyers was in the lead with more than 170 plates ordered.

With each plate being $12 and the donor having the option to donate more, United Way collected over $14,400.

All proceeds go directly to United Way and Action Ministries food insecurity program.

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Covington native and proud Valdosta State alumna, Hunter has previously worked with The Covington News and Valdosta Daily Times. She started working for Rockdale/Newton Citizen in June 2018.

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