A fiery start to annual United Way campaign

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: STEPHANIE LAI
Out Back Shack kitchen manager Greg Scott beams with pride after taking home top honours at the October 3 chili cookoff, which kicked off Fanshawes annual United Way fundraising campaign.

Every year, Fanshawe College staff, faculty and students spend October to February raising funds for the United Way, and every year they start the campaign off the most delicious way they know how — with a chili cookoff.

This year's cookoff on October 3 saw three competitors dishing out their best beans: students from Fanshawe's Food and Nutrition program, employees from Chartwells and representatives from the Fanshawe Student Union. The entries were judged by the FSU's VP Athletics Chris Lethbridge, 2013 United Way campaign chair Larry Myny, and Gabe Freeman, a player on the London Lightning basketball team.

The FSU emerged victorious, with Greg Scott, kitchen manager of The Out Back Shack, as the mastermind behind the winning recipe.

“It feels good to have the trophy back in FSU hands,” Scott grinned. He said he has plenty of experience cooking chili at home and has perfected his recipe over the years. “It paid off!”

His perfect chili recipe includes “beef, mushrooms [which were not included in the FSU recipe], lots of stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato juice and the perfect blend of seasoning.” The result is a hearty, meaty chili with a bit of a kick.

All three competitors' chili dishes were available for staff, students and visitors to buy for a $5 contribution to the United Way campaign, and the event raised $2,141.50 for the cause. According to a press release sent out by Fanshawe, “One in five children in London lives in poverty. The purchase of one chili lunch for $5 could help a United Way-funded agency provide a child living in poverty with a nutritious breakfast every morning for two weeks.”

After the judging was completed, Fanshawe's campaign goal was announced. This year, the Fanshawe community aims to raise $106,500 for United Way, which supports agencies that provide social services for people dealing with poverty, mental health, labour and other issues.

Cathie Auger, vice-president of Fanshawe's Student Services, acknowledged that this is an “ambitious” goal, but said she was confident it would be achieved.

Over the next few months, the Fanshawe community will be hosting a variety of fundraising events to reach this goal. In years past, these events have included silent auctions, bingo events, re-gifting sales and penny drives.

For more information about the United Way, visit unitedway.ca.