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Party with a purpose at the World Series of Barbecue

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Posted at 6:05 AM, Sep 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-30 18:13:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The American Royal World Series of Barbecue has developed a reputation as a party destination. During the weekend-long cooking event at the Kansas Speedway several pitmasters, corporations, and other organizations host private parties late into the nights.

This year, the public is invited to a party benefiting In the Name of Grace. The nonprofit will host its “Your Royal Grace” fundraiser Friday at 6 p.m.

Grace is an acronym for “giving recovering addicts a chance to evolve.” The organization raises money to fund outreach for Oxford House in Missouri. Oxford House provides group homes for addicts to get their footing as they work toward sobriety. There are about 21 Oxford Houses in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. In the Name of Grace also funds outreach for Oxford Houses in southwest Missouri.

“People in early recovery, who need to not go back to their maybe toxic environment, need to learn to live in their sobriety, live with their peers, and struggle with the exact same things,” In the Name of Grace cofounder Rob Elsey explained.

The nonprofit plans to use money raised at the party to grow the number of Oxford Homes across Missouri. Elsey said even with about 200 beds in Kansas City, there is a dire need for more.

“If we increased the number tenfold, we still wouldn’t have enough [space],” Elsey pointed out. “There’s somewhere between 1,00 and 1,400 people coming out of treatment on a regular basis here in the Kansas City metro area who need a place to go immediately.”

Elsey said Oxford House residents stay at the home for two years on average, but can stay as long as necessary for their recovery. Residents are required to pay for their portion of rent and utilities and enroll in a 12-step program. Elsey said fewer than one percent of residents who leave Oxford Houses in Kansas City experience a relapse in their addiction.

Before becoming involved with the nonprofit, Elsey was a competitive pitmaster. He’ll be preparing a lot of the meat for Friday’s event. Tickets to the party cost $150 and are available online. A ticket includes all you can eat and drink. The event follows an 80s prom theme; the M80s band will perform.