The Webster Dudley Business Alliance, Isador's Organic Fruit & Deli & Commerce Bank of Webster are partnering together to host a Chili Cook Off on Sunday, March 3 from 12-3 p.m. at Isador's located at 261 Main Street in Oxford. This is the third year Isador's will host the event, which benefits local schools in the tri-town area with all proceeds going to the Hand Fruit Program.
The program was established by Justin Szostakowski, owner of Isador's. “Isador’s Hand Fruit Program raises funds through community events in order to supplement Massachusetts public school lunch programs with organic fruit. Our first event in February of 2010 provided enough fruit for the students of the Oxford Middle School, and has grown since then to include elementary schools in surrounding towns.” Justin also added, “The purpose of the cause is to provide a practical education to young people about the importance of whole food nutrition.” To that end he also speaks with the students and staff about the importance of good nutrition for maintaining a healthy body and mind.”
Part of the mission of the WDBA is to be an active part of the betterment of the local community where its members work and live. "We all benefit from living in a healthy, positive environment. When individuals and families thrive, local businesses also thrive," said Debra Horan, president of the WDBA. "Last year two local elementary schools, including Park Ave Elementary School in Webster, were able to receive fresh fruit for lunch and we hope to increase our support this year," she added.
A member of the WDBA, Commerce Bank has maintained a consistent presence in the community by reaching out to residents in various ways, including holding Kids Safety Events, blood drives and food and clothing drives, as well as collecting toys for Toys for Tots.
“Commerce Bank is pleased to support the Hand Fruit Program through our sponsorship of the Chili Cook Off,” said Shereen Fahey, Manager of Commerce Bank’s Webster office. “Good nutrition is critical to our children’s health and well-being, and the Hand Fruit Program plays an important role by ensuring that they have access to healthy alternatives at school.”
The 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off will take place from noon to 3 p.m. and the public is invited to sample all the entries for a $5 donation. Tickets may be purchased ahead of time at Isador's Organics located at 261 Main Street in Oxford, Commerce Bank located at 25 Worcester Road in Webster or Booklovers' Gourmet located at 55 East Main Street in Webster. Tickets will also be available at the door. Several local dignitaries are expected to attend, including Senator Richard T. Moore. Restaurants, caterers and individuals are invited to participate by entering their best chili recipe, from spicy to mild, meat to vegetarian. There is no entry fee and awards will be presented by people's choice. To register call Justin at 508-987-1211 for details.