Chili Jacket event looking for vendors, sponsors
Brandon Champion is new to Carroll County, but that doesn’t mean he’s waiting to join the community.
Champion reported last week that he has organized a coat drive called Chili Jackets, scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, at Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center.
The fundraiser will feature a chili cook-off, where vendors can pay $30 to enter their chili in the contest. Champion said he’s already working with local restaurants to have a presence at the event, which will benefit underprivileged children enrolled in the Eureka Springs School District. Those interested in tasting the chili, Champion said, will need to donate $15 at the door or donate a new coat.
“I just want as many people as possible to come together. Eureka Springs is where I want to start, but if we exceed it, I want to branch out to Berryville and Green Forest to help as many kids as we can,” Champion said.
It’s very important, Champion said, that the jackets are new.
“They have to be new. I don’t want the children to feel like they’re getting secondhand stuff,” Champion said. “I just don’t want them to feel like they’re being singled out.”
If everything goes as planned, Champion said, he will have 10-15 entries in the chili cook-off. The person who makes the best pot of chili, he said, will receive a chili championship belt.
“All you have to do is donate $30 to the cause and just touch base with me,” Champion said. “I’ll get your name on the list. We’ll get you a little sign on your table.”
Champion, who moved to Carroll County six months ago, said he organized the fundraiser because it’s the right thing to do.
“I woke up one morning and felt it in my heart. I felt like God steered me toward it,” Champion said. “It’s just something I’m passionate about. I’d love for it to be a success.”
This is the first time he’s organized an event like this, Champion said.
“I’ve never done anything like this. I’m feeling kind of nervous, but I think how I feel in my heart … that’s going to win over my nervousness and it’s going to be a success,” Champion said. “I think we can help a lot of kids around here, and I’m ready for it.”
He continued, “The price of admission is $15. You’d pay that at a nice restaurant for dinner, and you’ll be able to sample the best chili in the area. It’s a great cause. You’ll donate a jacket to a kid and maybe one day you’ll be fortunate enough to see them wearing that jacket.”