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People Helping People Chili Cook Off

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As enterprising chefs fix up some mighty good eats at the annual People Helping People Chili Cook-off, they’ll be doing far more than feeding hungry guests there to enjoy a time-honored community food event. They’ll be helping to feed countless others across Hernando County.

The Chili Cook-off, set to take place from 11 am until 3 pm on February 18 at the PHP Help Center, ranks among the biggest fund-raisers of the year for People Helping People, “an interfaith, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization that provides food and basic necessities to people in Hernando County, Florida, who are hungry.”

“This is one of our two major fund-raisers of the year,” explained Kendra Kenney, executive director of People Helping People. “It helps us buy the pantry items we need for hundreds of meals served through PHP feeding programs, including those served to older people across the county in our Senior Blessings program. And it helps us pay the day to day bills that keep our help center running.”

As they provide life-saving sustenance for people in need, participants also will provide eager guests with their very best chili cuisine. “I always look forward to not having to cook dinner that night, as my husband and I enjoy so many samples of delicious chili,” Kenney said with a chuckle.

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The competition is set to feature 18-20 contestants, with a panel of judges assessing all of the entries for first, second and third place honors. Gathered guests will also cast their own votes for a special Taster’s Choice or People’s Choice honor. And aside from the good eats, guests will enjoy the music of a DJ onsite, along with a bake sale and games. Tickets will be available for different activities. “We will have dancing,” Kenney promised.

Both contestants and sponsors are encouraged to participate in this year’s Chili Cook-off. “We’re always looking for more sponsors,” said Kenney. “We still have spaces available for contestants.”

Each cook will pay a $20 entry fee and prepare at least 2 gallons of chili. Prizes will include $100 for the first place winner, $50 for the second place winner, and $25 for third place–with trophies also awarded. For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/5eetbuuj.

Sponsorships range from $50 to $500, and in addition, some table sponsorships are still available. For information about the People Helping People Chili Cook-off, call (352) 686-4466.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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