Kare started as an idea conceived by two Kansas City
Barbeque Society cook teams in the fall of 1996.
Larry Marks, of BBQ team Three Little Pigs (Raytown, Mo),
and Craig Kidwell, of team Boys of BBQ and Patty (Odessa,
MO), learned that local food pantries frequently suffered
shortages of food during the spring and summer of each year.
They felt a need to help the underprivileged and homeless
families served by the community out-reach programs. With
this desire in mind, the first committee was formed. It
consisted of Craig and Patty Kidwell, Larry and Joan Marks,
and Bob (Armadillo Bob) and Margaret Nolop .
Eventually the budding committee went to several more teams
asking if they would participate by cooking for the food
pantries. Many of the barbecue cooking teams of the Kansas
City Barbecue Society were excited to be getting out the
smoker early in the year to do some cooking for the needy.
Next, the committee started soliciting help from local
businesses and friends to provide meat and other necessary
items to get a Kookers Kare Event started. The positive
response from everyone was quite overwhelming. The committee
chose the month of March of each year to conduct this
charitable event; this being the time of year when the
pantries suffered their greatest shortage. The first Kookers
Kare event was set for March of 1997. Their location was
Wyandotte County's Fairgrounds in Kansas City, KS.
The committee worked hard all winter soliciting businesses
and individuals. Everything from meat to plastic ware was
needed. They gathered donations and commitments, not really
knowing where to send or store the food. They contacted the
City Union Mission to receive both the donations and the
cooked meats for the first event, which was a major success.
Meat, spices, marinades, BBQ sauces, charcoal and money were
all being donated by many of the volunteers. Committee
members even decided to feed dinner to the cooks and
volunteers. Chili and hot dogs (with the fixings) rounded
out the menu, with donuts and coffee being served for
breakfast. The first year was frightfully cold and windy.
Nevertheless the numerous and generous volunteers who
prepared, cooked, and wrapped meat assured that the results
would be amazingly successful. A combined 3000 lbs. of
briskets, pork shoulders and turkey were all cooked by 26
cold, dedicated cookers, with the help of 75 volunteers. It
was such a success that the committee decided to plan and
organize an event for the following year with the thought in
mind to out-do the first year's event. They wanted it to be
bigger and better in 1998. The committee had also decided
through the learning process to make Harvesters Network the
recipient for the finished product.
Harvesters Network is a part of the nationwide "Second
Harvest Food Pantry". Harvesters handles more than 1.2
million meals each month in the Kansas City metropolitan
area for programs such as; Restart, the Salvation Army,
Kansas City Community Kitchen, and others.
When Harvesters' founders organized more than 20 years ago
their efforts were in response to a disturbing social
concern - hunger in our community. Their hope was to
alleviate human suffering by providing emergency food
assistance to people in need. With hope as their calling
card, they were able to secure support from local
businesses, churches, and individuals who realized they,
too, could make a difference for people in need. Those early
efforts were the seeds from which a mighty organization has
grown. And while the need for food assistance continues to
grow, so does the hope that one day solutions will be found
(and implemented) which fully address the root causes of
hunger in our community. In the meantime, the desire to help
and the hope that we may make a difference is manifested in
Kansas City's community, young and old. Through countless
ways the metro's population has responded to the presence of
hunger in our midst.
With all this in mind, the 1998 Kookers Kare event was as
planned. The day of this event a local TV station presented
the morning show from the cook-site, featuring interviews
with cooks and committee members. The day after the event,
Harvesters received calls from most of the area's food
kitchens requesting the barbeque.
There was a generous spirit, many fabled BBQ stories told,
and lots of laughs to be had. The event's reputation for fun
and camaraderie spread, and became quite inviting to many
new cookers and volunteers. After the second year event's
great turn-out the committee decided dinner-for-all would
become part of this event. All agreed the second year's
event was, indeed, bigger and better then the first.
As the years have pasted, committee members have found
special ways to make this event a "happening" in the
Today's Kookers Kare Inc. committee consist of many Kansas
City Barbecue Society members.
The committee members, cookers and volunteers continue to
out do themselves every year making the event ("Charity
Smokefest") an enormous success!! With lots of great
sponsors, record amounts of cooked meat and dry goods are
loaded into the Harvesters truck each year. Due to the
success from this event, Kookers Kare is now able to help
Harvester's in November with a large donation of
If you have any interest in supporting or donating to
Kookers Kare - or just want more information please contact:
Craig Kidwell - Presidnet