Williamsport residents fight the chill with chili

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU-TV) It surprisingly was not that chilly outside yesterday but there was a handful of chili inside. The 3rd annual ‘Chilly Chili Cook-Off’ took place in Lycoming County Saturday morning. 

“I ate chicken chili. They call me chicken joe!” Said Rajesh Surujbally of Williamsport.
Bowls filled up with delicious chili, it’s the perfect way to fill up your stomach and warm your heart.

“I heard about the chili cook-off and knew the money was going for a good cause which is wonderful they have this,” said Pat Scaife of Williamsport.

The annual Chilly Chili Cook-Off is held to raise money for the heart works program, a free grief support group for children and teens in the Williamsport area.

“I got involved after the loss of my own dad. Just a way to give back kind of in his memory and we’ve seen all kinds of kids come through our doors so it’s definitely a much-needed program,” said Volunteer with the Heartworks Program, Mandy Bair. 

Heartworks is a part of UPMC Susquehanna where young adolescents can share their feelings of mourning and grief after losing a loved one.

“Sometimes kids won’t talk to someone in the family so it’s easier to talk to someone outside the family,” said Chili Cook, Barbara Breining.

“My grieving process was through the loss of my husband. I think it’s wonderful they have this program for the children I mean it’s bad enough going through grieving as an adult but when it’s a child and I think this is a wonderful program for children,” said Scaife. 

This free peer-based grief support is run entirely on donations..it’s why something like this chili cook-off is beneficial. People are voting on their favorite from meatiest to spiciest and then people’s choice. 

“All these chili’s here have different ingredients in them that maybe you haven’t tried before. This one has ranch dressing and some doctor pepper in it,” said Breining.

As the cook-off heated up..community members say it’s a friendly competition that goes a long way. 

“It’s really nice being here this morning,” said Surujbally.

Heartworks is always looking for volunteers. Training is done on-site at UPMC Divine Hospital in Williamsport.

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