United Way Cancels Annual Chili Cook-off

October 12, 2021
United Way Cancels Annual Chili Cook-off Scheduled for November 13th
Fort Atkinson, WI – October 12, 2021 – The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties has officially announced that for the second year in a row, it will not be hosting its annual Chili Cook-off event following the Fort Atkinson Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade on November 13th, in lieu of ongoing impacts and concerns related to the pandemic.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision to cancel this year’s Chili Cook-off event,” states Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director.  “Although it is very positive to see COVID numbers plateauing in our area, our organization feels it is important to be a strong community partner and assist in helping those numbers go down, not potentially aiding in them increasing again. We simply do not feel, given the short duration of the cook-off and the large number of individuals who attend within a small space, that we could safely and in good conscious host the event. Although we love the community merriness it brings, the health and well-being of our communities has to remain our top priority.”
The Chili Cook-off event is held each year following the Holiday Parade and boasts 20 chili cookers serving their recipes to the public. On average, the event raises approximately $1,500 in support of the United Way Campaign.
“Although our primary purpose of the Chili Cook-off each year is to simply gather community members and celebrate the joys of the holiday season, the night also serves as a fundraiser for our annual campaign,” Hartwick adds. “In a year that has brought the most difficult and unique fundraising challenges our organization has ever experienced; it was not easy to decide to cancel something that would further financially impact our organization. But again, the health and safety of our communities, volunteers and our staff is our primary focus.”

A number of past chili cookers and volunteers had notified United Way that they would not be comfortable participating in the Chili Cook-off this year, which also aided in United Way’s decision to cancel.

Anyone who would still like to donate to support United Way’s local efforts can mail a donation to 734 Madison Avenue, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 or make an online donation at https://uwjnwc.com/get-involved/give/.

“We appreciate everyone’s support and understanding regarding our decision, and we look forward to 2022 hopefully bringing us a year that we can once again fully and joyously celebrate with our communities,” Hartwick adds.

Anyone who has any questions can contact the United Way office directly at 920.563.8880 or unitedway@idcnet.com.
Megan Hartwick
unitedway@idcnet.com, 920.563.8880