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A hubbub over chili

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Sunday, March 13, was a pretty good day for chili. At least, somewhere around 350 people thought so. And that turns out to be a good thing for Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf.

For the better part of four hours, hundreds of chili enthusiasts enjoyed samples—some, pretty unique—of chili made by 10 area restauranteurs. These folks had come not only for the samples, but to help raise money for CCEFS through the first Chili Hubbub fundraiser.

An idea that came to CCEFS Director Greig Metzger just a few months ago, the Chili Hubbub brought families together under a tent on the grounds of Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale for an afternoon of activity and really good chili. A steady stream of families came through for four hours, which is exactly what Metzger had hoped would happen.

"I'm hugely thrilled with the participation in the event," Metzger said. "It was wonderful to see an event that, for me, has an appeal across generations and brings families together.

"For us, it's all about the families in the community, taking care of one another," he said.

March might not seem like prime chili season, but it turns out to be a time of need in many food shelves. To that end, March is also Minnesota FoodShare Month, so funds raised by the event will be matched, on a pro-rata basis, by Minnesota FoodShare.

The event was sponsored by several area businesses, and was put together by a committee of local volunteers. In addition to the committee members, the event was staffed by about two dozen students from area high schools, as well as about 40 volunteers from the food shelf.

Metzger didn't have a total dollar amount raised by the end of the event, but the event helped raise awareness of the needs for Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf, which is priceless. And as a bonus, the event received really good reviews from everyone who attended.

"Our feedback was pretty positive," Metzger said. "Everybody all had fun, a good time and is interested in participating in the future. I'm absolutely thrilled."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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