A chili and cornbread cook-off was held Wednesday at the John C. Hitt Library to raise funds for the Heart of Florida United Way Campaign. On behalf of the Information Technologies and Resources division (ITR), the event was hosted by the Center for Distributed Learning and the Office of Instruction Resources.

The UCF campaign runs yearly, and although ITR has always participated, this is the first year they have actually put a fundraising team together.

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“UCF has a friendly competition every year where teams compete for the top fundraising team of the campaign for a winning trophy,” said Maritza Pomales, the fundraising team captain for ITR. “ITR decided to organize a fundraising team to have a chance at winning the trophy this year. Raising funds for a good cause is always more fun when the element of competition is thrown in the mix.”  [sam_ad id=”3″ name=”flyhighmsb” codes=”true”]

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The United Way Campaign hopes to raise $150,000 this year, and a total of $500 was made at the ITR cook-off event. The event raised these funds through a suggested $5 donation, which included a sample taste of all the chili and cornbread entries, a drink and a bowl so the guest could eat more of their selected favorite.

The friendly competition had two winners, both of which were from the Center for Distributed Learning.

“Attendants at the event had the opportunity to taste 15 different varieties of chili and six different varieties of corn bread,” said Anita Gabbard, the campaign representative for the Center for Distributed Learning. “The chili entries varied from vegetarian, beef, pork, chicken and degrees of spiciness. Once the attendees were done tasting, they had the opportunity to choose a bowl of their favorite chili and cornbread and cast their vote.”

A silent auction was also held at the event, and two items were auctioned off. These included a one-night stay at the Holiday Inn Express on Colonial Drive and a pair of UCF football tickets, which were both donated to the campaign, according to Gabbard.

The event was very successful overall, according to both Gabbard and Pomales.

“The event was well attended, and it brought our employees together through friendly competition. It raised much-needed funds for a local charity, and it raised awareness amongst our employees on the importance of giving back to our community,” Pomales said.