The annual Texas County Healthcare Foundation event that generates funds for Hospice of Care was Saturday at the North U.S. 63 fairgrounds in Houston. (File photo)

The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation’s fourth annual “Chili Cook Off” is today. The event raises funds to benefit Hospice of Care.

This year’s event is inside the community building at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds.

Jay Gentry, director of the foundation, oversees the chili cook off and related activities. In 2009, more than $55,000 was raised for Hospice of Care.

“We have started a tradition of holding an event that provides fun and entertainment for all ages and raises much-needed funds for a really good cause,” Gentry said.

The Chili Cook Off will feature 18 teams competing for chili prizes while raising money for hospice. The event will also include music, live auction, cake walk, booths with special foods or games and the opportunity to sample all the chili.

Chili cooking teams are comprised of five people and are sponsored by businesses and organizations. Sponsoring teams are: Landmark Bank in Houston; KUNQ; Houston Community Betterment Y.O.U.T.H.; Houston Future Business Leaders of America; State Farm Insurance; Houston Walmart Supercenter; VIP Properties; Houston Wal-Mart Supercenter; St. John’s Clinic-Houston; The Bank of Houston; Intercounty Electric Cooperative; Rolla Technical Center Radiology Program; and Gentry Residential Treatment Center.

“There’s some healthy competition among our hospital departments, too,” Gentry said. “Dr. Rasmussen will be defending his ‘people’s choice’ chili title.”

The TCMH emergency medical services department and dietary department are participating in the cook off again this year. The TCMH Youth Ambassadors and TCMH Auxiliary have also thrown their hats in the chili cook off ring.

Team sponsorship is $150 and includes long-sleeved T-shirts for the team members, cook passes and advertising promotion before the event. Businesses may choose to sponsor a team made up of their employees, or a business sponsorship can support a team.

The cook off is limited to 18 teams. There is room for one more team at the cook off.

Gentry is seeking chili teams that will include people from across Texas County. “Hospice of Care serves all of Texas County and the surrounding area, so we would like to see involvement from all over the county,” Gentry said. “We are hoping to have chili teams from all of the areas where Hospice of Care services are available.”

An award will be given to the team that raises the most money. Team fundraising can be done before and at the event. Additional awards will be given for the team with best decorated booth, the best costumes and the best showmanship at the event.

A panel of judges will taste the chili and award a prize for the judges’ choice. There will also be a prize for the people’s choice, the kid’s choice and the spiciest chili. Trophies will be awarded in each category.

Through a donation by Grace Manufacturing in Plato and S&H Farm Supply in Mountain Grove, a Club Car XRT950 UTV (utility terrain vehicle) will be raffled.

“Our goal is to raise at least $60,000 for Hospice of Care through the UTV raffle, cook off ticket sales, the auction and team fundraising,” Gentry said.

The Healthcare Foundation has a special “Hospice Fund” for the chili cook off money and other hospice donations such as memorials. The fund money is used to further the endeavors of Hospice of Care, which provides hospice care for terminally ill patients and their family members regardless of their ability to pay for the services.

“A very important aspect of the annual Hospice of Care fundraising event is that all money raised at the event will stay in the Texas County area to benefit area patients,” Gentry said. “We want everyone to come out to our event, bring their kids, and have an afternoon of fun while raising money for a very worthy cause. Once again, the Foundation board of directors and Hospice of Care staff are excited to bring this event to the community.”

Tickets to the event are $10 for adults and $5 for children. They are available through Hospice of Care and the Healthcare Foundation at TCMH.



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