Cooking For a Cause
Each January at the Dallas County Area YMCA in Buffalo, a team of volunteers and staff put in hours of hard work to pull off the annual Chili Cook Off, facility’s biggest event of the year. The big night consists of plenty of entertainment which starts with a competition of multiple teams from the Dallas County area to see who can make the best batch of chili. A live band plays favorites such as “Take Me Home, Country Roads” while the crowd enjoys sampling chili and conversing with other members of the community. The event ends well into the night with an auction of donated goods from local vendors and individuals.
While the Chili Cook Off itself is a huge event for the community to enjoy it is also a way for the Dallas County Area YMCA to give back in a huge way. The proceeds from entry fees, auction items, and donations go back to the Y’s Annual Campaign fund to ensure that anyone who wants to participate at the YMCA in Buffalo is able to regardless of his or her income. “We never want money to be a barrier for those in our community, so we work to ensure that our Annual Campaign goal is met to help as many as possible,” said Kami Miller, Center Executive at the Dallas County Area YMCA.
With over 20 percent of the county’s population living under the poverty line, the Annual Campaign supplements families and individuals so that everyone can enjoy sports, child care programs, and memberships that open up opportunities for wellness and friendships. Last year the Dallas County Area YMCA raised around $10,000 at the Chili Cook Off to support those in the community for the rest of the year. “As someone new to this area it has been so amazing to watch how willing people are to donate items to the auction and how much people support the Dallas County Area YMCA by attending the Cook Off and auction. The people of Buffalo and the surrounding area are so giving and it is an awesome thing to see people looking out for one another,” said Kelley Keim, Program Director. “I’ve watched and helped with the hard work that has gone into this event, and I know that the staff and volunteers involved are thankful for all of the support since we know it is going to go back to the community through our financial assistance program.”
Every day, the Y is focused on strengthening communities for kids, adults, seniors and families with programs that protect, teach, connect, heal, nourish and encourage. Through the help of corporate and individual donors the Y is able to provide the communities that it serves with so much more.