Making chili to help kitchen feed Wayne County's hungry
By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 26, 2008 2:00 AM
Ricey Howell, of Spicy Ricey Chili, spoons out some chili Saturday during the second annual Really Chili Challenge to benefit the Community Soup Kitchen of Goldsboro.
Representing the First Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro, Dan Wise, Jamsie Spicer, Richard Sealey and Mike Novick, of team Promise Land Chili, were the first place winners of Really Chili Challenge.
Some were dressed as witches, others as doctors, one was a cheerleader, and one man even wore pants that looked as if they were being licked by flames. But they all worked with one purpose during a rainy Saturday -- to help their community in an effort that left downtown enveloped in the aroma of chili.
By the time the chili cookers packed up their wares Saturday afternoon, they had raised what organizers think could be close to $12,000 for the Community Soup Kitchen of Goldsboro.
It is the second year the Soup Kitchen has sponsored the Really Chili Challenge that almost doubled from 13 cooking teams in its initial year to 21 teams this year. New this year was the "2 Hot 2 Trot 5K Run" and a fun run that attracted close to 60 participants.
Meanwhile, the rain that alternated between a mist and steady rainfall did not deter the crowd as they walked around sampling the chili.
Tony Best of Mount Olive finished his 5K run then raced over to sample some of the chili.
"It's really good, it's hot and has got beef in it," Best said as he sampled a cup of steaming chili. "I am enjoying this event. I woke up this morning and told my wife 'let's go to the chili cookoff.' It's a good cause all the way around."
When asked how he did in the race, Best, 52, joked, "Not bad for an old man."
"We have had a very good turnout and we have doubled the number of teams we had last year," said Kay Cooke, who heads up fundraising for the Soup Kitchen board. "And as you can see, there is an assortment of chili cookers and types, some of it is spicy hot, some of it is vegetarian. It is about anything that you want.
Bessie McCoy of Goldsboro was at the event with her sister and brother-in-law.
"I have been to other chili cookoffs, some in Wilmington, but this the first time for Goldsboro," she said. "It (chili) is very good, hot. I like it medium, but it is very good."
Mrs. McCoy said she wasn't bothered by the weather and planned to stay around even though it was raining.
"It is headed toward good chili weather," she said. "I think it (cookoff) is nice, very nice. In these days and times the Soup Kitchen is pressed for money to serve other people. I think it is a great idea."
Keith Lewis, the kitchen manager for the Flying Shamrock Restaurant on John Street, arrived at the site at 7:30 a.m. to begin slow-cooking his chili
The restaurant competed last year and won for best name.
"It's going pretty good," he said. "It is not raining as bad as I thought it was going to. It is still early, but still some have stopped by but I am not quite finished yet."
Asked if the recipe had any secret ingredient he could share, Lewis said, "It has a very little amount of Guinness beer. It's an Irish bar; what else could you do for an Irish stew or Irish anything than to put Guinness in it?"
Debra Curl, who was visiting from Texas was volunteering with the Wayne Community College International Students Club. Ms. Curl is an alumnus of the college and the club.
"I wanted to see how Texas chili cookoffs compare to North Carolina," she said. "I have to go back to Texas so as long as this is not going to make it to Texas, I'd said North Carolina chili rules.
"It is wonderful and just to see this turnout on such a rainy day. The International Students Club volunteers once a month at the Soup Kitchen so this is just something that I have always believed in and something that I have done and a little rain is not going to hurt anything."
Fe Maria Finch, lead adviser for the club and who teaches French and Spanish at the college, said the club had 14 volunteers throughout the event.
Maurice Nicholson and his fellow Goldsboro Optimist Club members weren't cooking chili, but had donated popcorn to be sold to benefit the Soup Kitchen.
"I have sampled some (chili) and I am pretty stuffed now," he said. "It was really good. I am trying to get around to all of the tables. I've got my favorite so far, but there are a lot more tables to go to."
Nicholson said he had learned about the cookoff from a fellow club member who volunteers at the Soup Kitchen.
"I am really impressed with the number of people here now," he said. "If you can do something fun, get some food and help somebody out, that's a triple threat and people really enjoy doing that."
"The Community Soup Kitchen is a very unique organization," said Andrea Heekin, Soup Kitchen board member. "We have gone from feeding 75 people a day in these hard economic times to where we are feeding almost 120 people a day. We are a unique organization. We are not sponsored by United Way. We have a great board and our mission has always been to feed the hungry and this is our and we are so proud of it."
The Squirrel Hut booth, that included a covered wagon and Dutch oven, was awarded best-decorated honors. The best-name award went to The Chili Crew With Nothing Better to Do.
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