Chili cookers show a little scholarship with their 2014 efforts

Published 8:50 pm Saturday, February 8, 2014

“Scholarships are what it’s all about.”

Those words from Vicksburg Kiwanian Tom Osburn explained why members of the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club cooked 224 pounds of meat, 40 pounds of onions and 20 pounds of bell peppers to make the 140 gallons of chili dished out Friday at the YMCA.

For 20 years, the club has been cooking and serving chili to area residents to raise money for scholarships to members of the Key Clubs — the high school version of Kiwanis — it sponsors at Vicksburg High School and Porters Chapel. The 1,700 servings of chili club members dished out with the assistance of Key Club volunteers raised enough money to give out scholarships totaling $10,000 this year.

While these scholarships — which range in value from $250 to $750 — won’t pay the full tuition for college, they will provide the students who receive them some help with meeting other costs, such as books and materials for class.

The Indianapolis-based, volunteer club’s motto is “Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.” That’s something the club takes seriously, and the scholarships are a good example. The best way to improve the world and improve communities is through better education, and the students getting these scholarships will have some extra help in extending their education.

Judging from the community’s response to the project, people in Vicksburg recognize that and they recognize the importance of helping the community’s children further their education.

It also serves as an example of community service the Key Clubbers should try to emulate as they get older. For those who volunteered to assist by serving and performing other tasks during the feast, it’s a lesson already learned.

Osburn said the first time the club held the feast, they sold about 250 servings of chili, adding, “we’ve come a long way.”

May support of the chili feast and the scholarships increase in the future.