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GREAT CHILI COOK-OFF LURES 500 TO FAIRPARK FUND-RAISER FOR S.L. HOMELESS SHELTER

SHARE GREAT CHILI COOK-OFF LURES 500 TO FAIRPARK FUND-RAISER FOR S.L. HOMELESS SHELTER

A sellout crowd gathered at the Utah State Fairpark Thursday night to raise money for operating costs at the Salt Lake Community Shelter and Resource Center, which provides shelter and services to Utah's homeless.

More than 500 Utahns paid $30 each to sample the results of the "Great Chili Cook-Off." The chili was provided by chefs John Hale, Hires; George Haley, Haley and Stolebarger; Ron Purdom, Texas Red's Pit Barbecue and Chili Parlor in Park City; Matt Minkevitch, St. Vincent De Paul Center; Daniel Joyce, Maxi's at the Red Lion; and Tom Davis, After Five Catering.The event also featured a silent auction.

"We have a shelter that adds a measure of dignity and humanity to people's lives," said Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis. "Now we need to raise the operating expenses each year."

DePaulis expressed pleasure that the shelter has received support from "all sectors of the community" and thanked Utah for its "love affair" with the shelter and the annual chili bash.

Stacey Bess, who teaches at the "School with No Name" at the shelter, said supporters "have made it possible for these kids to have a better life." She has responsibility for 14 homeless children of various ages up to the 11th grade.

The specter of the homeless was never far from the minds of the participants, who included individuals and corporations. And music provided by Xan Johnson's Theatre School for Youth served a reminder: "Out on the outside, that's where I've been. Out on the outside, let me come in," one song said. "Look through the window, give me some light. Tell me I'm home now, say it's all right."

Members of the group had spent several hours with homeless children before they put together their program to get a feel for what it's like to be disenfranchised.

Stephen Holbrook, a member of the Shelter the Homeless Committee that raised the money to build the $4 million shelter, said 30 percent more people could be served if enough money were available to cover operating expenses. But the underfunded shelter has had to put a cap on the number of families and individuals it can admit and has even had to establish waiting lists during peak times.

The event was co-sponsored by AT&T.