Johnson City Press: For club, steaks, burgers and stars equal $

For club, steaks, burgers and stars equal $

Jessica Fuller • Jun 15, 2018 at 12:07 AM

For the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County, Thursday night was one of the biggest nights of the year.

The third annual Steak ‘n’ Burger for the club brought in more than 300 guests and an estimated $100,000 in fundraising that will go toward the organization’s summer and after-school programs, resource development and marketing director Elizabeth Williams said. The estimated surge in attendance pushed the event to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, where a member of the Boys & Girls Club sat at each table as an ambassador, telling the guests at each table about the club.

Mandy Hawkins, who has been a member of the club for the past four years, took the podium to share her story. She said the club has given her the opportunity to try new things like zip lining, improve her grades and make new friends.

“The club has changed my life,” she said.

In the three years since the club introduced the Steak ‘n’ Burger event, it has grown to be the most popular and biggest fundraiser throughout the year, garnering $70,000 in donations last year. This year, the club’s most-renowned alumnus, Jason Witten, and his former University of Tennessee coach, Phillip Fulmer, attended the fundraiser as special guests.

“Witten and Fulmer have really gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of people,” Williams said. “They’ve done it for one another, they’ve done it for teammates, they’ve done it for kids, they do it for the Boys and Girls Club every day.”

As a former club member and Elizabethton native, Witten remains supportive by offering free football camps and maintaining regular visits to the Boys & Girls Club.

His big draw in Elizabethton spurred organizers’ decision to move the event to a larger dining hall this year, which proved to be a practical move after the large sponsorship tables sold out and guests packed the hall, leaving few spare seats in sight.

“We have been overwhelmed with the amount of support that we’ve had from everyday citizens,” Williams said. “It doesn’t have to take a famous person to step up and be there for kids, it can be average person down the road, the teacher who loves giving back, those are the people who are making the biggest difference.”

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