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Family Promise volunteers get a 'chili' reception

Published January 10. 2013 05:02PM

All were tangy, most were mild, and a few were somewhat on the spicy side.

Aside from their delicious taste, the common denominator behind the recent Chili Cookoff held at the First United Church of Christ in Palmerton was its worthwhile cause.

Hosted by Family Promise of Carbon County, the purpose of the event was "to have a fun day," said Robert Fatzinger, executive director, of the organization.

In all, seven batches of chili were entered into the competition, and were judged according to color, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste on a scale of zero to 10.

Judges included Sky Fogal, co-president of Family Promise of Carbon County; Terry Ahner, TIMES NEWS reporter; and Henry Long Jr., a member of the Perseverance Jazz Band.

Afterward, it was time for members of the congregations that participate in the Family Promise program, to eat some delicious chili.

Blocks From Down Under, L.L.C. of Lehighton, donated a set of handmade wooden blocks to the organization. Rachel Kroboth, owner, said she was glad to be able to make the donation.

The Perseverance Jazz Band performed throughout the event.

Larissa Kimmel, president of Family Promise of Carbon County, recognized the group's volunteer congregations: Dinkey Memorial, Ashfield; Ben Salem UCC, Mahoning Valley; St. John's Lutheran, Mahoning Valley; Zion United Church of Christ, Lehighton; All Saints Episcopal, Lehighton; People's ECC, Franklin Township; Trinity Lutheran, Bowmanstown; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran, Palmerton; Sacred Heart RC, Palmerton; Jerusalem Lutheran, Trachsville; All Faith's Tabernacle, Jim Thorpe; and First UCC.

Kimmel took a moment to "thank all of our volunteers for all the work that you do."

Family Promise of Carbon County Volunteers of the Year were Mary McGowan, Sacred Heart; Barb Welch, Christ; Karen Wetzel, Dinkey; Barry Shupp, Zion; and Dawn Benner, Ben Salem. Carol and Duane Costenbader, of Sacred Heart, were named as Family Promise of Carbon County Volunteer Coordinators of the Year.

Family Promise of Carbon County is a nonprofit 501c (3) and nondenominational organization that serves homeless families in the county.

It is one of over 152 networks across the country, and utilizes existing resources in its churches to form a network of at least 13 congregations who are willing to house homeless families in their buildings for seven consecutive nights, four times per year.

There are over 4,500 congregations and 110,000 volunteers that make up these networks. Based on the support of volunteers and host congregations, Family Promise (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network) programs are funded by donations, grants, and fundraising opportunities.

For more information, visit

The results of the Chili Cookoff are as follows:

1st place - First UCC, Palmerton

2nd place - Joe W. Solt

3rd place - Dinkey Memorial Church

Honorable Mention - Bob Welch

People's choice

1st place - First UCC - Palmerton

2nd place - Dinkey Memorial Church

3rd place - Bob Welch

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