Rockford teens give 100% effort at BBQ fundraiser

Local nonprofit 100 Strong teaches kids how to exceed in the business world.
Pitmaster on the grill.
Pitmaster on the grill.(MGN ONLINE)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 6:18 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Something wholesome is cooking up on Rockford’s west side, and its all for a good cause.

A delicious showcase of skills, determination and business savvy kicks off at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 31at the 100 Strong Safe House, 4111 Auburn St., Rockford.

The fundraiser is serving BBQ prepared by the teens under the direction of six time world champion barbeque pitmaster and owner of Lil’ Nicks BBQ, Thaddeus Denthriff.

Denthriff started teaching classes to teens in the program on the fundamentals of being a pitmaster, the Art of Fire and Basic Kitchen Sanitation procedures. Within a few months, three of the teens were hired as part-time pitmasters through the program, having the opportunity to travel with Denthriff and compete in BBQ around the country.

100 Strong focuses on supporting kids who want a pathway to achieve their goals by learning how to facilitate services or products that people already use or need.

“I think it’s an opportunity to really give some of these kids a different perspective on the career paths they have available to them. BBQ is something that takes patience, preparation, and integrity. This program is not just about BBQ; it’s about life,” said Denthriff.

100 Strong started with a few kids working to help make a Rockford neighborhood beautiful, and quickly started working with business partnerships and mentors like Tamir Bell.

Bell started working with 100 Strong in 2018.

“What makes this fundraiser unique is that the teens can showcase something they have put their time and energy into to do something positive. With all the unfortunate events lately, it’s good to see young people focused on their future,” says Bell.

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