Kiwanis chili supper in 50th year

Anthony Schroeder says he can only imagine how many pounds of chili have been made over the years to help fund the Portales Kiwanis Club's mission to help area youth.

Today will mark the 50th annual Kiwanis Club's Chili Supper, and Schroeder, one of the organizers of the event and Kiwanis member, says he's ready to feed the many community members he expects to walk through the doors of the First United Methodist Church of Portales.

"Kiwanis is dedicated to helping youth and supporting youth activities," Schroeder said.

He says the chili supper started in 1963 while Gayle Ferguson was president of the club. "The recipe was developed by George Calton. Both gentlemen were actively involved with the Portales Kiwanis club for many years," Schroeder said. "Mr. Calton's recipe is still used today in the preparation of the chili."

Schroeder says they'll be up early today so they can start cooking the beef for the chili as required by their sacred recipe that will fill at least eight roaster pans.

But don't worry non-meat eaters, Schroeder said there will be plenty of vegetarian chili as well that will be just as good.

"I can't tell you what's in the recipe, sometimes I forget," said Schroeder jokingly, adding the main ingredients include meat, beans and spices.

Kiwanis member Tony Gennaro says the ingredients to a successful dinner is good food, good leadership and the community coming out to support them.

"When you build up a tradition, that's the best marketing you can ever do," Gennaro said.

Gennaro says not one penny goes into administrative costs for the club. He says funds go to variety of things that contribute to area youth needs, education and recreation.

Gennaro says Kiwanis is known for providing scholarships, food, clothing, coloring books to Roosevelt General Hospital patients and sponsoring swim and track meets to name a few of the clubs contributions.

"We have something going on almost every month," Gennaro said. "That's the purpose of why we need a fundraiser."

Gennaro is also happy that this chili dinner has contributed to community bonding.

"We want to keep people together; we enjoy being together," Gennaro said. "This is a voluntary achievement to accomplish a great goal."

Schroeder says they plan to serve at least 400 people today.

"It's a Friday night, you don't have to cook," Schroeder said.

  • What: The Portales Kiwanis Club's 50th annual Chili Supper
  • When: 5 p.m.-7 p.m. today
  • Where: The First United Methodist Church of Portales
  • Cost: Plates are $7 for adults and $4 for children under 12. To-go plates will also be available.

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