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Grilling and Giving Back

Featured Photo from Grilling and Giving Back

Altamonte-Wekiva Springs Life takes a closer look at the charitable men – and talented cooks – of the Maitland Men’s Club.

If you’re looking for a member of the Maitland Men’s Club, you’re likely to spot a handful of them working under a tent behind a hot grill. At almost every local fundraiser and charity event, these men serve hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs to our community. These men are not only talented grill masters, but they are also part of a generous and caring club dedicated to giving back to the Maitland community, and they’ve been helping families in need for the last 20 years. Although most of their work is done behind-the-scenes, their impact on the community is felt in a most significant way.

Since its inception in 1996, the Maitland Men’s Club has raised and donated more than $350,000 to the community through its annual golf tournament, garage sale, and poinsettia sale. Half of the club’s funds are contributed toward its popular Christmas for Children program. Each year at Christmastime, the men collaborate with school social workers in Orange County to identify 20 to 25 families that are experiencing a family tragedy or financial crisis. Once families are nominated and selected, the Maitland Men’s Club helps to provide them a complete Christmas, including food gift certificates, age-appropriate toys, and a shopping trip for a few new clothing items.

“In the end, the kids receive a good meal, new clothes, and toys at Christmas,” says club and board member Brad Siebert, who joined the Maitland Men’s Club after learning more about it through a friend and his father.

Although Christmas for Children is its focus, the Maitland Men’s Club members donate and volunteer their time to nearly every event in the community.

“We work with social workers year-round to help provide children with all sorts of needed items, from clothing to glasses,” says Brad. In addition to supporting local organizations such as Project Walk, and Freedom Ride, the club has assisted in building new parks in the community, while participating in school PTA fundraisers and nursery school events. The members regularly serve food to the homeless at the Christian Service Center, and it’s become a tradition for the club to grill all the burgers and hot dogs on opening day for Maitland Little League. On average, club members grill two to three thousand hamburgers a year, with all food proceeds going back to the organization they are supporting.

“You name the event, and we’re usually there,” says Brad. “We get asked quite often, and we try not to say no to any fundraising event that involves helping children. The guys in this club have hearts. Whatever comes our way, we go out of our way to provide for them.”

The club meets every Friday for breakfast for about an hour. The meetings sometimes include featured speakers. “We don’t discuss business,” says Brad. Instead, he says the meetings are a place for companionship and brotherhood, and a great way to start the weekend. One of the most recent topics has been a new fundraiser featuring you guessed it grilling. Keep an ear out for the Maitland Backyard Barbeque Challenge coming this fall.

Ultimately, it’s all about a group of men who want to do good.

“If you want to feel good about yourself, and do great things for the community, there is really no better place to be,” says Brad.

Although the group has grown through word of mouth, its members hope to make sure their tradition of doing good continues. If you’d like to find out more about the Maitland Men’s Club, breakfast meetings are held every Friday at 7:30 a.m. at the Greater Orlando Builders Association, located at 1953 Clayton Heritage Way, Maitland.

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