Local community members attended the 43rd Annual Southeast Kansas (SEK) Humane Society Chili Feed Dinner on Feb. 3. The event was held at Memorial Auditorium & Convention Center. The chili feed marked the beginning of the fundraising year for the non-profit organization.
The event offered three kinds of chili, an assortment of desserts, and crafts for sale to the public. Jasmine Kyle, business information officer for the SEK Humane Society, said they are blessed when it comes to volunteers—the chili feed is their biggest fundraiser of the year and it takes a lot of support from the community to pull it off.
“Just in chili alone we have to cook 460 pounds of meat…” Kyle said. “We have over 50 volunteers today and then we had over 60 bakers volunteer to help make all the baked items for this event.”
Pittsburg city commissioner Sarah Chenoweth, volunteered her time to serve cookies, cakes, pies, and specialty desserts.
“It’s really so important to support the animals,” Chenoweth said. “I love the humane society—I got my favorite cat there.”
Kyle said the SEK Humane Society could not survive without help from the community and their support of events like these. All proceeds from the crafts and ticket sales fund the care and maintenance of the homeless animals in Crawford County.
“We survive on the few grants we can get and of course monetary donations,” Kyle said. “… these fundraisers are crucial to be able to keep up what we’re doing. All the profits from this event go to the animals in need, whether it’s the vet bills, to the pet food, to the kitty litter…anything that we need to get these animals into their (new and forever) homes.”
The chili feed offers different ways for community members to get involved. David Blanchard, student at George Nettles Elementary, joined his mother Jenny Blanchard to volunteer.
“It’s one of their biggest fundraisers of the year and we are out volunteering, trying to make it easier for them,” Jenny said. “He knew I was going to do it and wanted to do it with me.”
Kansas Teacher’s College alumna, Irma Holley, is a member of SEK Humane Society and said she comes to the fundraiser every year.
“As long as they’ve been in operation having the chili feed, I’ve been coming,” Holley said. “…every year I buy five tickets… just to support them because I don’t have a pet… so when the tickets come, I just send them a check right away, and invite four other people to come and enjoy it.”
Each year the chili feed is scheduled to coincide with the Super Bowl so people can opt to use the chili as treats for their watch party. Brian Melies, PSU alumnus in communication, volunteered to serve on the to-go lane set up at Fifth and Pine streets.
“I am selling chili through the drive-thru section,” Melies said. “People can drive by and pick up quarts for $10… and we’ve been going through it really quick.”
SEK Humane Society is located at 465 E. 560th Ave in Pittsburg. Kyle said the available assistance reaches beyond the shelter—any animal owner in need of assistance can go there to get their animal’s needs met.
“If we ever have a person that needs any kind of assistance,” Kyle said, “…whether it’s kitty litter, or food, or snacks, or treats, if you volunteer an hour of your time we will hook you up!”