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Chili cook-off to benefit Community Caregivers in Londonderry

LONDONDERRY — Those with a fondness for spicy food are in for a special treat this weekend.

On Saturday, cooks from around the region will gather at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Londonderry to serve up their finest chili, all for a worthy cause.

The event, now in its second year, will raise much-needed funds for Community Caregivers, a Derry-based nonprofit group providing services to the homebound elderly and disabled in the towns of Derry, Londonderry, Windham, Sandown, Chester, Hampstead and Danville.

Cindee Tanuma, the organization’s executive director, said Community Caregivers has enjoyed a long relationship with the local parish.

Church rector Sarah Rockwell previously served on the Community Caregivers board of directors, while acting board chairman Vinnie Smith is a church member.

“We glean many volunteers from St. Peter’s,” Tanuma said this week. “And Sarah has been so great about referring new clients to us and visiting some of our current clients.”

These days, Community Caregivers serves nearly 300 clients around the region, with over 400 volunteers providing the bulk of services, including light housekeeping, friendly visits and rides to doctor appointments.

“I think its always touching when someone wants to do a fundraiser and have the elderly or disabled as recipients,” Tanuma said. “It rarely happens. Elderly are a very forgotten population, and I think it is so noble when someone chooses us.”

Lee O’Connor, one of the event’s organizers, said last year’s initial chili cook-off was “a huge success” and the church raised over $1,000 for another local charity.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 32 cooks had registered for this weekend’s event. O’Connor said last-minute entries would be welcomed on the day of the event.

The chili cook-off is planned for Saturday, March 29, at the 3 Peabody Row church.

Those who wish to enter their chili in the contest are asked to bring each entry in a large crock-pot. Registration fees are $10 per entry.

Contestants can sign in starting at 4:15 p.m., with judges’ tasting to take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The general public will have the chance to taste all the different chilies from 5 to 6 p.m., with awards to commence at 6 p.m.

Admission for the general public is $10 per adult and $5 for children ages 5-10.

In addition to the variety of chili samples, guests will be treated to live music, piñatas for the kids, cornbread, soda and other refreshments.

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