920.563.8880 unitedway@idcnet.com

Fort Atkinson, WI – November 9, 2020 – The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties is asking community members to share their chili recipes from home this weekend, in lieu of the cancellation of their 21st annual Chili Cook-off event, originally scheduled for this Saturday.

“Our United Way is incredibly sad to have made the decision to cancel this year’s Chili Cook-off, but we know it was the best decision in order to protect the health and well-being of our communities” states Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director.  “But that doesn’t mean our communities can’t still connect over warm, delicious chili recipes! So, we’re hoping community members will consider still making their best chili this weekend and sharing it on Facebook by tagging our United Way and using the hashtag #2020chilicookoff.”

United Way will compile any posts & pictures shared with them and share a full recap on their Facebook page and in their November newsletter. Community members are also encouraged to use this opportunity as an act of kindness.

“Not only are we hoping community members will still make chili this weekend and then share that with us, but we hope they will spread the love and share it with others,” Hartwick adds. “We ask those who are able, to consider sharing some of their delicious chili meals with others who could benefit from that generosity. Consider delivering a warm chili meal to a single parent, or elderly neighbor, or friend who lives alone, or simply someone you know could benefit from a random act of kindness.”

United Way is also strongly encouraging people to make their chili to enjoy while watching the live stream of the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade on Saturday, November 14th at 5:30pm.

“We are so grateful for our partnership with the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce and that our Chili Cook-off always follows their great holiday parade,” Hartwick states. “We want to still offer that partnership support this year by reminding our communities they can still enjoy the parade – either in-person, socially distanced and masked, or virtually from home. And we hope you’ll still include chili somehow with the viewing of the parade.”

United Way also hopes that community members will consider finding a way to support their organization, despite the cancelled event.

“Although the main intention of our Chili Cook-off is to serve as a community awareness event for our United Way and other partners agencies that participate, the annual event does also serve as a fundraiser for our fall campaign,” Hartwick adds. “During a year where fundraising is already incredibly challenging, but at the same time the need for support is incredibly high, we are hoping individuals who normally attend will consider still making a small donation in lieu of their $4 chili bowl.”

Anyone who would still like to donate to the 2020 United Way Campaign can mail in a donation to 734 Madison Avenue, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 or an online donation can be made at https://uwjnwc.com/get-involved/give/

United Way will plan to revive the annual fundraiser in the fall of 2021, as long as it is safe to do so. Anyone who has any questions can contact the United Way office directly at 920.563.8880 or unitedway@idcnet.com.