NORMAN — The Community Services Building, 1183 East Main St. will host its eighth annual chili cook-off fundraiser beginning at noon Friday on the grounds of the building.
This year’s cook-off is chaired by CSBI Board Member Glenda Thomas.
“This is going to be a great community event and the cost for a chili lunch is only $5,” Thomas said. “It’s a great opportunity for bosses to bring staff, spouses to meet for lunch, or friends to enjoy some food and silent auction shopping.”
The Norman Community is invited to stop by for a bowl of chili and have the opportunity to vote for their favorite potage while visiting with some of Norman’s best social service agencies and bidding on an array of silent auction items.
Norman nonprofit agencies have a special category and agencies in the building compete with others outside the building for nonprofit supremacy in the Chili Category. In 2012, the Travelling Chili Trophy left the Community Services Building for the first time when the team from Legal Aid came in with a recipe the judges loved. This has made for some fierce competition, as CSBI Agencies are challenged to bring the trophy back “home.”
Individual chili chefs are also encouraged to enter their recipes, as well. Former CSBI Executive Director Becky Aguilar has won this category for past two years. Aguilar created the chili cook-off in 2005 and has shown a strong presence as a competitor since her retirement. She is poised for competition again this year and ready to take on other individual competitors.
A panel of local residents has been assembled to select this year’s winners. Judges include Bob Usry, Joan Barker, Jennifer Newell, Cas Ciulla, Andy Rieger, Dr. Sherri Durica and Tracy Curtis. Judges will be guided by long-time chili judging expert Diane Murphree of the United Way of Norman.
The silent auction that accompanies this event will include a variety of items for every age and gender, from dinosaur toys and museum tickets, lunch at the Firehouse and OU memorabilia to artwork by local artists Ed Kearns and Mark Shaleen.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will provide building improvements for the facility, which houses a variety of nonprofit agencies, including Aging Services, Inc., Among Friends Activity Center, Bethesda, Center for Children and Families, Inc., Workforce Oklahoma, Cleveland County Genealogical Society, Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency, Compassion Pointe, Crossroads Head Start and Early Head Start, Dimensions Academy, Food For Thought Learning Institute, Girl Scouts Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Training Annex, Oklahoma People First, RSVP and VITA Income Tax Services.
“CSBI is facing some challenges as our oldest and largest agency, Center for Children and Families, Inc., will vacate their space to move into their own building late next summer,” said Christi Moore, Executive Director of the Community Services Building. “We are excited for them because being at CSBI has allowed them to grow and flourish and become an agency that fills a much larger space than is available to them in this building. However, we will have space available and would love for the community to spend a little time on the property to see how CSBI might work for other nonprofit agencies that can take advantage of our low rent structure and the collaborative nature that exists in our facility.”