Glynn County does a lot of things well — golf, beach life, bridge runs — but rallying around a good cause likely tops the list. From supporting cancer patients to funding nonprofits like Hospice of the Golden Isles, area businesses and individuals are always willing to step up to help.
It was something that Staci Bennett immediately noticed upon moving to the area two years ago. Once settled, she too wanted to get involved.
So Bennett joined the board of Operation Bed Spread. The 501c3, founded by local Rees Carroll, collects, cleans and delivers donated beds to families in need. Sadly, most of those recipients are children, which made Bennett even more committed to the cause.
“While a small organization, they have been able to touch just under 1,000 families by providing a clean place to sleep for their children. This gift they have provided to so many families in Glynn County will help them beyond measure,” Bennett said.
Recently, she got an idea to rally the troops and organize a fundraiser to help buoy the work. Bennett gathered sponsors, Merrill Lynch and Amman Bennett Rice Wealth Management, and roughly a dozen local restaurants resulting in the inaugural Brunch for Beds. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Greenhouse on St. Simons Island, with participating vendors like Porch, Sea Island, Certified Burgers (who will offer up its coveted donuts to attendees), as well as newcomer Barrel + Board. There will also be live music.
For Bennett, the grouping will give attendees a fun and memorable afternoon.
“We wanted to organize an event that is repeatable, engages the community at large and at the same time allows everyone to have a good time supporting a great cause,” she said.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the quick ‘yes’ but also many of these people know Rees Carroll and the work he has done with (Operation Bed Spread). It speaks to the community we have here and the desire to make everyone’s lives better. It’s truly remarkable and makes me feel so much gratitude for being a part of it.”
Amanda Fortune, who co-owns Palmer’s and Porch with her husband, Palmer, was thrilled to help out an organization that promotes wellbeing for children and families.
“The whole premise of helping to support overall health through a good night’s sleep made it a no-brainer for us. It’s a brilliant cause in our community,” she said.
“All of those facets coupled with the fact that many of these beds would be sitting in landfills makes it also important for the environment. But it’s just a great thing to help these families and children in need.”
Bob Smith and Matt Slide agree. The co-owners of the soon to open Barrel + Board in Longview Plaza on St. Simons are also excited to be a part of the new event.
“Staci came and sat down with us a few months back. You could just tell from her energy and enthusiasm that it was something she was determined to do. We knew right away that we wanted to be part of it,” Slide said.
Of course, they have a good bit on their plate as it is — after all, they are working to open their location. The spot will be a place for sampling wine stocked across the street at St. Simons Bottle, as well as enjoying wine by the glass.
“If someone wants to try one of the wines form St. Simons Bottle, they can just walk across the street to Barrel + Board. We will have 40 wines on tap and probably 50 wines by glass,” Slide said.
“We will also have about 100 to 130 different spirits available. So they can come over and taste come then go back to buy the product.”
Barrel + Board will also provide scrumptious bites to accompany the libations. Slide and Smith are looking forward to opening their doors in the next few weeks, but meanwhile they’re thrilled to get out to join this community event.
They will be participating in a Bloody Mary showdown at Brunch for Beds. It will pit some of the best mixologists against one another in search of the perfect twist on the classic recipe, which first surfaced in New York in the 1920s.
Nowadays, Bloody Marys are common brunching beverages, but getting them right is a bit tricky, Smith notes.
“I was never big on Bloody Marys because they were always too thick or had too much tomato sauce,” he said.
But after years of experience in the industry, Smith feels he’s found the perfect balance.
“I found a way to make it super light, almost like tomato water. Then we juice onions and peppers which add a lot of flavor but is less heavy,” he said.
Smith will put his Bloody Mary up against a number of local restaurants including Palmers, the Georgia Sea Grill, Palm Coast, Mullet Bay, Certified Burgers, Tipsy McSways, Gnats Landing, Beach House Jekyll Island, Mullet Bay and Golden Isles Olive Oil. Attendees 21 and older can vote on their favorite.
Tickets, available on Eventbrite, are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Children, accompanied by their parents, are welcome.
Barrel + Board’s Bloody Mary recipe
8 large vine ripe tomatoes
1/2 of a Vidalia onion
1 Poblano pepper with seeds removed (grill the pepper if possible — this adds a great smokey flavor)
2 stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp of salt (can be substituted for Braggs Aminos for lower sodium diets)
1 tbsp of fresh cracked black pepper
Juice tomatoes, onions, poblano, cucumber, celery, lemon and garlic (You may choose to reserve 1-2 tomatoes to blend in a blender if you prefer a chunkier Bloody). Add Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Stir vigorously to mix flavors.
Rub lemon around the rim of a glass then dip in Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.
Then add 1.5 to 2 ounces of you favorite vodka (gin and mezcal work great too) to a rimmed glass full of ice, top with fresh mix and stir with a celery stalk. Feel free to add your favorite hot sauce or more lemon to taste.