United Way, other nonprofits prepare for cook-off

Published 9:50 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2007

NATCHEZ — The United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou is serving up spice today for the third year to kick off their annual fundraising efforts.

For $2, patrons can enjoy music and spicy food.

The jambalaya cook-off is a lot of fun, but it’s also aimed at reaching out to the public, Director Kathy Stephens said.

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“This is not a moneymaker for United Way,” Stephens said. “This is a way for us to show what Untied Way can do with $2. It is for the community to get to meet our agencies and meet the programs we fund. It’s a way for us to let the community know we are going to start fundraising and need all their support.”

This year, the cook-off will feature a band, Section 8, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The spicy dish will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The idea for the jambalaya cook-off started after the successful United Way chapter in Baton Rouge hosted one.

“They kick their fundraiser off with a jambalaya luncheon, so we decided we would do the same,” Stephens said.

The characteristics of the dish really reflect the organization’s purpose, she said.

“It is a mixture of everything coming together, and that’s what the United Way is,” Stephens said. “It’s a mixture of people of all ethnic, social, and economical backgrounds. Everyone in the community comes together to make each of these nonprofit programs work for the community.”

Last year, the cook-off saw close to 1,800 people, she said, and they hope for the same this year.

The goal for this fundraising season, which lasts through Dec. 15, is $400,000.