Chili generates funds to support World Services


Three of this year's chili judges take a well-deserved break. Photo courtesy of Bakersfield Corps

Eureka Corps holds its 8th Annual Bakersfield Chili Cook-off to aid World Services.

By Carole Abella, Major

Chocolate, Coke, peanut butter, beef, chicken, chilies and beans were ingredients of the day at the March 31 8th Annual Chili Cook-off hosted by and at The Salvation Army’s Eureka (Calif.) Corps to raise money for World Services.

Donations came from myriad sources. Chili-cooking participants paid $10 each to enter their “pot” in the tasting competition. Adults who came to taste, support and eat donated $7, children ages 4-12 were $2. In total, this year’s 12 would-be chefs—including one true chef from The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center—and 100-plus diners raised $1,226.

While local celebrity judges tasted and judged the entries, guest eaters gathered in the chapel to learn details of the work of World Services. This year’s judges included three men from the local Christian radio station KAXL and a weather forecaster from Channel 29 Eyewitness news station.

The event was a joint effort between the cooks and corps members with corps members donating chili, sherbet, cornbread and condiments such as cheese, onions and Jalapenos. Volunteers set tables, decorated, cooked cornbread, made tea, collected tickets, recorde monies and ate. There was even a cleanup crew.

“And what’s it all for?” Corps Officer Carole Abella said. “It’s because people have caught the vision…that we can change a life and make a difference for eternity by giving.”

This special event was the brainchild of Penny Valdovinos, a visually impaired and legally blind Salvationist at the corps, responding to a challenge given eight years ago to envision her part in making a difference in World Services. Her idea to sponsor an annual chili cook-off established the Bakersfield event.

Valdovinos’ son, Lorenzo, now donates the prize money. But oftentimes the winners donate their winnings back to World Services.


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