United Way cook-off looking for chefs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2010

NATCHEZ — All the good things from New Orleans will be in the Natchez Convention Center Friday, Aug. 20.

This year’s annual United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou Jambalaya Cook-off is themed “N’Awlins in Natchez” and will get the excitement and fundraising started for the United Way community investment pledge drive.

The jambalaya cook-off, now in its sixth year, is a fun way to get the campaign under way, United Way Administrative Assistant Carol Follmer said.

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“We have so many different businesses that participate each year so it is a really good meet and greet for so many people in the community,” Follmer said.

She said business teams have really been excited about this year’s theme, and she expects several to go “all out” decorating their booths.

“Some people are doing Saints-themed booths, others are Mardi Gras and jazz,” she said. “Anything New Orleans goes. It is going to be so fun.”

The event isn’t just about having fun, though. It is about raising awareness and money for the 14 agencies supported by local United Way contribution.

The goal of the United Way is to provide a central agency that individuals and businesses can support that then provides funding for a variety of worthy causes.

All money donated to the local drive is distributed to the local agencies.

“Our partnering agencies will have booths set up with information on what needs they serve,” Follmer said. “It is a good way for the community to come out and get to know all the agencies and know who they are helping.”

In the Miss-Lou, the United Way supports Adams County 4-H, Adams County CASA program, Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities Cope and Emergency Assistance program, Catholic Charities Counseling, Concordia Council on Aging Meals program, Concordia Council on Aging Transportation program, Guardian Sexual Assault Center, Guardian Shelter for Battered Families, Natchez-Adams County Council on Aging, Natchez-Adams County Habitat for Humanity, Sunshine Children’s Shelter and Respite Program, T.M. Jennings Little League Baseball and the Salvation Army

Awards will be given for the best jambalaya, best cooking booth decoration and best agency booth decoration.

There is no entry fee for cooking teams, but they must be prepared to cook for 100 to 200 people.

Teams interested in forming a cooking team should use the registration form found at www.unitedwaymisslou.org, and return it to the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou office by fax at 601-442-1811 or e-mail to cfollmer@unitedwaymisslou.org.

Businesses not able to form a cooking team, but still interested in participating are invited to sponsor a table for $50 per table.

Those sponsorships should be mailed with a sponsorship form to P.O. Box 1466, Natchez, MS 39121.

Follmer said there are still openings for both cooking teams and table sponsors.

The public is invited to eat lunch with the United Way that day for $6 per plate.

A plate includes jambalaya from the team of your choosing, salad, bread and a drink. Tasting cups can be purchased for $1 each to sample a variety of jambalaya offerings.

Live musical entertainment will be provided throughout the event to give it a true party atmosphere, Follmer said.

“It’s a fun thing we do, but it is a fundraiser, too,” she said. “This is an easy thing for everyone because you just have to come to the convention center. There are so many different ways to help.”

For more information on the jambalaya cook-off or becoming involved in the community investment pledge drive, call 601-442-1081.