Chase away the winter chill this weekend by tasting and voting for the winner of an epic chili cook-off that will help send kids suffering from burn injuries to a special camp just for them.
The first of what organizers hope will be an annual event starts at 1 p.m. at Roma Lodge and will feature live music from Bella Cain, a DJ, kids’ activities, a raffle, and more.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Charitable Foundation, Inc. Burn Camp welcomes between 50 and 90 kids age seven to 17 each summer, and their expenses are paid for entirely by private donations.
South Shore fire fighter James Davis is the event’s lead, and he said he’s amazed at how quickly the community has come together to make this happen after Rob Piccolo from Roma Lodge reached out.
“The goal is to raise money and awareness for the burn camp, and everyone has really jumped on board,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of interest and there will be a lot of chili for everyone to taste.”
Piccolo said he got the idea for the fundraiser from a friend who hosts a bowl-a-thon in Burlington for the camp. He is also impressed with the response Davis and SSFD have gotten.
“I wanted to create an event for our community that benefits this great cause,” he stated. “I know fire fighters are passionate about what they do, going above and beyond, and organizing this event is no exception. They’re really getting the word out.”
There are two categories for chili entries; hero and open. The heroes include first responders like fire – including all three shifts at SSFD – police and rescue as well as branches of the military, and open entries include members of the community like Medical WeightLoss & Wellness, Inc.
Davis said 24 chili entries have been submitted as of Monday.
In addition to the great chili and a large crowd, Davis said he’s also expecting to welcome Jenna Jordan and her brother, Jeff, who Jenna said is probably the camp’s primary advocate. Jeff was burned as a six-week-old infant and adopted shortly thereafter by the Jordan family. He started attending the camp when he was six and now, at 22, is a counselor there who also talks up the camp to groups around the state.
Jordan, programming/fundraiser coordinator for the camp, started volunteering at the camp when she was just 15 and said helping the kids there became a passion of hers.
“This camp is near and dear to me and my family, and I know how important it is to fire fighters to help burn victims, especially children,” she said. “We’re really excited to be part of this event in Racine.”
If You Go
What: Chili Cook Off for Burn Camp
When: 1 to 9 p.m. Feb. 21
Where: Roma Lodge, 7130 Spring Street, Mount Pleasant
Entertainment: Bella Cain from 4 to 6 p.m.; Mobile Madness 6 to 9 p.m.