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Group's new campaign for fallen first responders families
The Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire's website is at

The Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides assistance to the family members of fallen and injured first responders in 18 Georgia and two South Carolina counties, recently launched its new “Red, White and Blue Campaign” and announced its inaugural fundraising event.

The organization, now in its 15th year, strives to lessen the devastating effects of tragedies by providing immediate, significant financial assistance to surviving family members of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. To date, the group has given more than $1.2 million to beneficiaries in its service area, which includes Bryan County.

The Two Hundred Club’s newest initiative represent the three services with which the club assists: fire, EMS and law enforcement. The campaign focuses on the importance of the organization’s mission and its financial supporters.

When a public-safety provider suffers serious injury or death on the job, the heartbreak and hardship endured by surviving loved ones can be unbearable. In addition to adjusting to new emotional realities or a life without a treasured family member, spouses and children must continue to meet financial obligations and keep their households running. Doing so often proves tremendously difficult, as families often aren’t prepared to deal with such a financial devastation.  

A donation to the Two Hundred Club goes directly toward ensuring that affected families can stay in their homes, maintain a decent standard of living and remain in or enter educational programs.

To raise awareness of the club’s efforts, expand its support base and raise funds for the families of fallen first responders, a “Red, White and Blue Barbecue” is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 in downtown Savannah’s Ellis Square.

The event, which is co-hosted by the annual Savannah Food and Wine Festival, will feature fare from a wide variety of well-known local restaurants and live entertainment.

People will be invited to “donate for a plate,” and while the minimum suggested donation is $15, the highest individual and corporate donations on the day will be highlighted.  

Individuals signing up for membership to the Two Hundred Club on Oct. 16 will be entitled to a free plate of pulled-pork barbecue, spare ribs, coleslaw, baked beans and Texas toast.

Businesses and eateries that have agreed to donate food include Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp, Savannah Lodging, G.C. BBQ, Ruby Tuesday and Leopold’s Ice Cream.

A wide array of beverages — provided by Coca-Cola, Southern Eagle, Service Brewery and United Distributing — will be sold.

Anyone who wants to pre-order a plate can do so by going to Pre-ordered meals will be available for drive-thru pickup between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Ellis Square.

Attendees will be treated to a medley of country, blues and Irish pop tunes, courtesy of Keith and Ross, In For A Penny and Bottles and Cans.

All funds raised through the barbecue and the campaign will benefit the Two Hundred Club’s primary mission.
For more information on the campaign, joining the club, making a donation or attending the barbecue, call 912-721-4418, email or go to

The organization’s leadership is appealing to the public to empathize with the  families of fallen first responders and help ensure the club can continue its mission.

“I have been a member of the Two Hundred Club for some time and wanted to demonstrate our support for their work by encompassing the first annual barbecue within the Savannah Food and Wine Festival,” said Michael T. Owens, the president of the Tourism Leadership Council.

The Savannah-based Two Hundred Club is primarily funded through tax-deductible memberships, which range from $250 to $1,000 per year. Donations also are welcome.

The benefits are determined at the sole discretion of the club’s board of directors, and all proceeds go directly to the families of these fallen heroes in its service area.

Club members include professionals, homemakers, community leaders, small-business owners and managers, corporate executives, retired and active-duty firefighters and law-enforcement officers. Civic-minded individuals from all walks of life are encouraged to get involved and help make a difference, according to Two Hundred Club President Mark Dana.

“The honor from aiding these families is a treasure that money can’t buy. We are all dedicated to the one purpose of bringing love into the lives of the families our heroes have left behind,” Dana said.

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