Soup & Chili Cook-Off & Chocolate Extravaganza is Oct. 15; entry deadline is Oct. 1

    The 19th Annual United Way of Crookston Soup & Chili Cook-Off & Chocolate Extravaganza, the official kickoff of the agency’s fundraising campaign each year, will be held in the Crookston High School Commons on Monday, Oct. 15.

    But if you want to concoct your best entry, you’d better hustle, because the deadline to enter is Monday, Oct. 1. If you’re an amateur or a professional and you want to whip up your favorite soup or chili or chocolate creation, contact United Way of Crookston Executive Director at, or Becky Cymbaluk at to get the form you need. If you have questions or need more information, call 281-1715.

    The cook-off will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets aren’t needed, simply pay at the door. Adults are $5 per person; five years and younger get in free. Donations are greatly appreciated as well. All proceeds from the evening will go toward the new fundraising campaign, which has a $160,000 goal. The previous campaign’s goal was also $160,000, and Wagner says a supportive community helped push the bottom line to approximately $171,000.

    “We appreciate the support so, so much,” Wagner said. “And so do our partner agencies.”

    The United Way of Crookston helps to support 22 local agencies, and also lends support to the Eat United Summer Food Service Program, the United4Learning After-School Reading Program, and the growing Student United Way Chapter at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The UMC student chapter currently has 12 members, and is planning for another “Breakaway” spring break trip in 2019 – after a successful, previous service trip to New York – with a potential destination and service focus of providing hurricane relief in the Carolinas.

    Wagner stresses that all dollars donated to the Crookston United Way stay local.

    The local United Way focuses its efforts on a trio of initiative areas: Income – Helping People to Become Independent; Education – Preparing Children to Succeed; and, Health – Reducing Hunger and Homelessness. The focus, Wagner explains, is on tackling the source of problematic issues, not just the symptoms.

    Keep your eye out for weekly United Way of Crookston partner agency profiles in the Crookston Daily Times, which will commence soon.