The annual Faith in Action of Edgar County Chili Soup and Chili Cookoff and the upcoming Trivia Night are important fundraisers for the local non-denominational ministry.
The cookoff at Lake Ridge Christian Church in February allows county residents to taste various soup and chili recipes prepared by local residents. Tasters then vote for the favorite soup or chili with bragging rights awards presented at the conclusion of the evening.
No tickets are sold for the event, according to FIA director Linda Cearlock. Those attending are asked to make a donation at the door. Besides the soup and chili samples, hot dogs, drinks and desserts are served.
This year’s grand champion was longtime partcipant Norm Wilson, who also won first place in the chili competition with his entry, “chili.” Second place in the chili category was earned by Jacob Garver and Angie Julian for their “Whopper of a Chili.”
First place in the soup category was taken by the Rev. Stacy Tomich for “Loaded Baked Potato Soup,” while second place went to Denise Step for “Heavenly Soup.”
Former FIA director Nila Nugent and her husband, Ron, earned the favorite chef award for inviting the most tasters to the event.
Soups served for tasting included the winning entries as well as chicken noodle soup, beefy taco, potatoes and ham, pepper rice, ham and bean and cheese, broccoli, onion and potato soup.
According to Cearlock, Faith in Action of Edgar County — through congregations and agencies united for service — “offers compassion and love to our neighbors, therby making a difference in their lives. This is accomplished by easing isolation and loneliness. We help maintain independence by providing transportation for residents with chronic illnesses and/or physical impairments.”
The ministry is made possible by the volunteers who build the accessibility ramps at homes, transport residents to medical appointments, run errands or do grocery shopping or just care, Cearlock emphasized.
In addition to the soup and chili cookoff, the ministry sponsors a spaghetti supper and auction in the fall. The group accepts donations throughout the year. Some people, Cearlock said, make pledges to support the work of the organization throughout the year.
The next fundraiser is a new one for the group — a trivia night — scheduled Friday, March 23, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Paris. Doors open at 6 p.m. and questions begin at 7 p.m. Teams of six to eight persons are being organized to participate at a cost of $10 a person.
“It’s a fun night for everyone with lots of laughter,” she said.
Individual walk-ins are welcome, Cearlock said, and food will be available.
The ministry — located for many years on East Washington — purchased its own building and moved into the offices at 239 West Wood. Besides Cearlock, the only other employee is Cindy Soughers who is the office manager.
A bus trip to Maine is being planned for September by the group, Cearlock said. The dates are September 22-30. FIA volunteer Judith Benton is in charge of the trip. Benton also planned and led a trip to Savannah, Ga., and the southeast for FIA.
Questions on volunteering for other FIA events may be directed to Cearlock at 217-466-6388.