920.563.8880 unitedway@idcnet.com

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of running our 20th annual United Way Chili Cook-Off. It was a tremendous success, and I enjoyed working with all of the participants, volunteers, and community members. Roughly 300 community members kicked off the holiday season with us at the Fort Atkinson Municipal Building which was transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Together we raised over $1500 for our 2019 United Way campaign. Running a successful event like this doesn’t happen on its own, it takes a village, and it is to that village, and all who are a part of it, that I would like to say thank you.

I was quick to learn that there is a lot of behind the scene work that goes into the Chili Cook-Off.  The Friday before our event I went to Festival Foods to pick up food, plates, banners, and spoons for Saturday night. I pulled up to the store and my car was immediately filled with the donated items by the kind Festival Foods employees. I then proceeded to the Municipal building where everyone there helped me unload my car and get things prepped for the big event. On Saturday, when I arrived at the Municipal building, I was greeted by set-up volunteers who helped me transform the space into a festive chili and holiday wonderland! Soon after, I checked-in the chili chefs who were so excited to be able to serve their unique chilis to community attendees. The event volunteers were next, and every single one arrived with a smile on their face and helping hands. Finally, hungry community members began to arrive, and the cook-off was kicked off! The event ran smoothly from the first bite of chili to the dissemination of the final award, and I have all of YOU to thank for that. Thank you for your support, your kindness, your generosity, and your help.

Yes, it takes a community to run a successful event like that. This is also reflective on our 2019 campaign. It takes all of us doing our part to make the 2019 campaign a success. With all of your help, we will be able to reach our goals and be successful. This in turn will allow us to distribute a record amount of funding to our service area. Like our Chili Cook-Off, a successful campaign would not be possible without the community support.

Again, thank you to everyone who helped, participated, and joined us at our United Way 20th Annual Chili Cook-Off. I am grateful to be a part of this supportive and generous village!

Rachael Chupka
United Way Intern