SOURCE: American Family Housing

American Family Housing

August 12, 2015 12:57 ET

American Family Housing Raises the Bar at Annual Pro BBQ Competition and Summer Festival

Nonprofit Organization Raises Funds to Support Southern California Homeless Population

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA and MIDWAY CITY, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 12, 2015) - American Family Housing (AFH) -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to permanently ending the cycle of homelessness -- proudly presented its 4th annual Ribs, Pigs and Watermelons -- Professional BBQ Competition and Summer Festival, August 7-9 at Huntington State Beach. The culinary extravaganza raised awareness and critical funds to support homeless adults and families in Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, with over fifty professional BBQ teams, filling a quarter mile stretch of the State Beach parking lot alongside the boardwalk.

The event raised over $50,000 for American Family Housing programs that provide an array of urgently needed social services and affordable housing options to vulnerable populations facing barriers to housing stability. Sponsors of the event included Yelp OC, Southwest Material Handling, Inc., OC Mazda, Rainbow Environmental Services, Chef Jason Fullilove, Hub International, US Bank and BJ's Brewhouse, who provided all of the handcrafted sodas and beers for guests.

With a growing population and a deepening division between classes, Southern California continues to struggle with homelessness and high living costs, particularly those associated with housing. According to a January 2015 report from the apartment tracking service, RealFacts, Orange County is ranked the 7th priciest rental market in the nation, following closely behind New York City, San Francisco, Boston and San Jose.

"There is an acute need for affordable rental housing in Southern California, where rents are high and vacancy rates are low," says AFH President and CEO Donna Gallup, whose organization celebrates three decades of service this year. "Especially in a market like Southern California, homelessness is an issue that can affect anyone -- including hardworking fathers and mothers seeking stability not only for themselves, but also their children and extended family members. We are glad to be providing critical services to these populations in need."

The AFH summer festival, sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, attracted more than 50 of the top nationally ranked BBQ teams -- including teams from the TLC reality television show BBQ Pitmasters -- who competed for the $10,000 grand prize. Grand Champion was awarded to Pig Skin BBQ from Iowa and Reserved Grand Champion was awarded to Hickory & Spice from Tustin, Calif. The winning teams were determined by sanctioned judges from the Kansas City BBQ Society. The People's Choice Award, determined by the public in attendance, was given to Twisted Brisket from Costa Mesa, Calif.

Tastings throughout the weekend included bacon candy, moink balls, ribs, chicken, tri-tip, brisket, sausage, bacon-flavored kettle corn and cotton candy. Thousands of pounds of watermelon were served up to hungry guests and eager watermelon-eating contest competitors.

On Saturday afternoon, families joined in for the Kids Que, an event that let children ages 6 to 15 compete in their own BBQ competition. Parents proudly watched as their kids excitedly cooked. The younger kids barbequed burgers, while the older kids got to try their hand at cooking steaks. Team "Brenden's Smokin Hart" won the 6- to 10-year-old division and team "Jayden's Smokin Hart" won the 11- to 15-year-old division.

"We are fortunate to have the support of such a diverse group of generous and talented people who come from across the U.S. to make this annual event a resounding success," adds Gallup. "Not only does the festival shed light on a somber subject, but also helps AFH ensure that current homeless populations have housing options and the kind of support that allows them to successfully be a contributing part of the local community."

Ribs, Pigs and Watermelons will be back in 2016 at Huntington State Beach. To directly support American Family Housing, donate at www.afhusa.org.

ABOUT AMERICAN FAMILY HOUSING: Founded in 1985, American Family Housing (AFH) is a nonprofit organization that provides a continuum of housing and a broad spectrum of services to vulnerable populations facing barriers to achieving housing stability, including war veterans and adults with disabilities and mental illness. Operating 63 housing sites, with 267 units that serve more than 1,000 unduplicated adults and children each year in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, AFH is committed to permanently ending the cycle of homelessness, helping low-income families and adults achieve a self-sustaining way of life and become active members of their communities. For more information visit www.afhusa.org or call (714) 897-3221. Connect with American Family Housing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/afhusa and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/afhusa.

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