By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – On Jan. 19, members of the First United Methodist Church teamed up with members of St. Luke's Parish to host the fifth Annual Appalachian Service Project (ASP) Chili Challenge. The fundraiser, which drew a crowd of more than 125, took place at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Proceeds from the evening, which topped $2,000, will help approximately 84 students (from both churches) participating in ASP this July.
ASP, a Christian ministry open to all people, inspires hope and service through volunteer home repair in rural central Appalachia. The vision of ASP is to eradicate substandard housing and ensure that everyone who comes into contact with its ministry will be transformed.
The chili competition drew 13 competitors: Diane Croft's Chili, Best Chili Ev-a, Scofford Family White Chicken Chili, Yellowstone Chili, Pieces of Eight, Fields Gobblin Chili, Chili Verde, Hogdon 1, Hogdon 2, Smoky Roasted Sweet Corn Chili, Kelly/Morin Chili, Big Daddy's Chili Blanco and Big Daddy's Chili Moreno.
After an evening of sampling homemade chili, Mike Fields” “Fields Gobblin Chili” went home with bragging rights to “The Best Chili in Town” and a gift certificate to Bertucci's Restaurant. Second place and a gift card to Sachi Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar went to Lester and Benny Hensley and their “Smokey Roasted Sweet Corn Chile.” Manny Orejola and his “Chile Blanco” took home third and a gift card to Tavolino's Ristorante.
Many of the 84 students preparing to head to Appalachia this summer volunteered at the chili competition. Jen Streurer, Addie Egan and Kayla Murphy, who will be returning to Appalachia for at least the second time, sold tickets. Joining them was Sabina Spofford, who will be making her first trip in July. The girls are excited to serve the disadvantaged and deepen their faith while doing so.
The ASP website, www.asphome.org. explains how the program works.
“After a few days of hard work repairing homes with ASP, your hands will grow a little tougher, your arms a little stronger, and your relationship with God a whole lot deeper. You’ll return home to your community with a passion for service, a renewed compassion for other people, and a fresh appreciation for your place and purpose in this world. Best of all, you’ll discover first-hand that regardless of geography, education, or economic class, we are all equal members of the family of God,” the website says.
Anyone interesting in supporting the students or participating in the service project is asked to contact Dennis Callahan by phone at (508) 873-4575 or via email at [email protected]. For more information on ASP, visit www.asphome.org.