Since 1994 Captain Hope’s Kids has been meeting the needs of homeless children in critical need of basic necessities. On any given night in North Texas, more than 1,100 children will fall asleep in homeless and domestic violence shelters. Sixty-six percent will be under the age of nine and thirty-one percent are infants and toddlers under the age three years.
Earlier this week I was honored to judge a chili cook-off that benefitted Captain Hope. I judge many of these types of functions and was expecting this event to be pretty much the same as any other. I was in for a bit of a surprise.
As the emcee for the evening told guests, this would not be an ordinary event and to forget about making their favorite chili recipe. Instead the guests were divided into teams of twelve people and led into a room full of ingredients and cookware. There they were allowed time to rummage through some pretty unsual ingredients to not only make their own chili, but also side dishes and anything else they cared to eat.
The teams were paired with a real chef to create dishes and give a bit of guidance, but ultimately they would be making their own dinner.
Tables were scattered with canned goods, boxes of oddball pastries and just about anything else you might imagine. One team opted to beef up a canned chili, while many others chose a more direct route and made their own from scratch.
The teams were encouraged to bribe the judges and many took the opportunity to grab us a beer or glass of wine, and one team even made us all cheeseburgers with the few ingredients they had at their disposal.
The night ravaged on as the teams laughed about their creations. And some were very creative. Some, not so much. But in the end, they all had a terrific time and raised funds for the children they all collectively were there to help.
Fortunately none of the judges suffered much. The chili made was actually surprisingly good, and we were all happy to help the Captain. Think about this wonderful organization this holiday season.