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Church, area companies team up for 28th year on oyster roast fundraiser
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A few years ago, Friendship Baptist Church ended its participation, though many of its members continue to help out under the direction of Fairview Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, and its Fairview at River Club affiliate in Spotsylvania County. Friendship Baptist Church closed last year.
Art Blankenship, with Fairview Baptist Church, says the oyster roast is a big undertaking: about 120 volunteers do the preparation, transportation, cooking, serving and cleanup. Boy Scouts, the Stafford rescue squad and Sheriff's Office also lend a hand.
"This is really a community event," said Blankenship, who, along with another man, helps McCarty choose a recipient for the money raised.
There were four candidates for the money this year.
"We go meet with the people nominated, and we do a selection," based on prayer, and the candidate's physical and financial needs, Blankenship said.
McCarty said a few hundred people showed up for the first gathering. Over the years, "I would dare say 28,000 to 30,000 people have been fed."
It has raised $668,000, to date.
Diners, McCarty said, "can put in a dollar, a hundred dollars, whatever. Every cent goes to that person" being helped.
He's not sure how long the oyster roast will go on, but says his son wants it to continue.
As for McCarty, it will be "however long the Lord wants me to do it."
Dominic Beltran has been fighting neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer that affects the nervous system, since he was 17 months old.
He receives care from a team of specialists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and has endured rounds of high-dose chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. For a short time, he was declared cancer-free.
He has since relapsed twice, and started a treatment given only at his hospital in New York. His mother, Margaret, resigned from her job to travel back and forth with him. The loss of income, travel costs and unreimbursed medical bills have prevented the family from keeping up with their monthly expenses, and precluded recommended therapy for one of Dominic's brothers.
WHO: White Oak Equipment, Fairview Baptist ChurchWHAT: 28th Annual Benefit Oyster Roast WHEN: Saturday, March 3, at 3 p.m. WHERE: 358 King's Highway, State Route 3 East in Stafford County. DETAILS: The menu is the same each year: fried and steamed oysters, hot dogs, coleslaw, chips and homemade desserts. A donation is requested. All event expenses are covered by local businesses.