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Charity chili cook-off set for Sunday

Money raised to benefit Korean War Veterans Chapter 155, Premier Mobile Health Services

By CJ HADDAD - | Apr 4, 2024

Chili-lovers in Southwest Florida can rejoice, as a popular event that took a one-year hiatus due to Hurricane Ian is back in Cape Coral this weekend.

The SWFL Charities Foundation Chili Cook-Off returns to Club Square this Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m., where 15 different restaurants/individuals will rustle up their best version of the often individualized stew.

“It’s wonderful to be back,” said one of the directors for SWFL Charities Foundation, Denise Wood, of the sixth annual event. “We’re really excited to support our veterans groups, and people here locally that need it.”

All proceeds from the event benefit the Korean War Veterans Chapter 155 Southwest Florida, and Premier Mobile Health Services, which is a non-profit mobile medical clinic that brings essential care to people in need throughout Lee County.

The mobile clinic will be on-site to take patients on a walk-in basis. Patients without insurance and those who provide proof of income below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines are provided care at no cost; others in need pay on a sliding scale based on income.

“Their services are so very needed — especially now,” said Lena Neroni, SWFL Charities Foundation president, noting how many in the community continue to deal with losses sustained from Ian. “Everybody is still struggling.”

Wood said The Korean War Veterans are a group that has suffered loss over the years, and are unable to put on many events. On a bright note, the group has merged with Korean Defense Veterans, meaning that any veteran that had spent time in Korea during their tour, can join.

Activities at the cook-off include chili contests for both individuals and restaurants, raffles, crafts and arts vendors, and live music featuring “Total Annihilation,” “Foolish Relics,” and “Bargain Bin Heroes.”

“It’s become a tradition and we’re glad to have it back,” Wood said. “We hope it’s as successful as in years past, and it’s an event for all ages to enjoy. We tried to get some unique vendors people don’t normally see, with a nice variety for all.”

Samples of chili will be $2, so that the public can get a taste of whichever style or level of heat they prefer.

In previous years, roughly 4,000 people attended the chili cook-off, Neroni said. The foundation has previously raised funds for local veterans, animal rescue organizations, health education groups, cancer patients and more.

Admission to the event is free. For more information, visit swflcharitiesfoundation.com.

To learn more about Premier Mobile Health Services or schedule an appointment, call 239-288-7949. Additional information and the monthly mobile clinic schedule can be found online at premiermobilehealth.org.

Club Square is the area between Southeast 47th Terrace and Southeast 10th Place in downtown Cape Coral.