Saturday, October 31

Four-Day Long Island ‘Chili Smackdown’ to Raise Funds for Mental Health, Oct. 16 – 19

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Chili lovers across Long Island can enjoy both meat-based and vegan chili selections offered at several Long Island locations this October while raising funds for community mental health services by participating in the annual “2020 Chili Smackdown,” a multi-faceted, four-day, chili-centric event hosted by the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW).

“Chili Smackdown” offerings will be available from several food establishments on Long Island from Friday, October 16 through Sunday, October 18, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting MHAW’s mental health services. Those locations are:

Green Street Food Truck (Vegan)

  • Fri., Oct. 16, 4pm-10pm, Destination Unknown Beer Co., 15 Chicago Ave., Bay Shore
  • Sat., Oct. 17, 4pm-8pm, Jonah’s Garden, 2279 Jerusalem Ave., No. Bellmore
  • Sun., Oct 18, 12pm-6pm, Moriches Field Brewing Co., 1 Wilcox Ave., Center Moriches

Sweet Soul Bakery (Vegan)

  • Sat., Oct. 17, 11am-2pm, 454 Lake Ave., St. James

Cornucopia (Vegan)

  • Fri., Oct. 16 – Sun. Oct. 18, 9am-7pm, 35 No. Main Street, Sayville

Martin Kessler VFW, Wheatley Heights (Vegan and Meat)

  • Fri., Oct. 16, 3pm-9pm | Sat., Oct. 17, 12pm-9pm | Sun., Oct. 18, 12pm-9pm
  • 19 Colonial Springs Rd., Wyandanch (Open to the Public)

The chili-consuming public also has the option of visiting MHAW headquarters at 939 Johnson Avenue in Ronkonkoma on Saturday, October 17 between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm to purchase “grab-and-go” pints of chili from their cars. Volunteers – with COVID-appropriate masks and gloves – will bring meat-based or vegan chili to participants’ cars under guidelines approved by the Suffolk County Health Department.

The event will culminate in a Facebook Live award ceremony at 7:00 pm on Monday, October 19 to recognize “Chili Teams” that have provided the most popular chili and to award raffle prizes, which include a range of products, services, and experiences.

This year, MHAW modified the format of the annual “Chili Cook-Off and Fall Festival” – held each October on the grounds of the organization’s headquarters in Ronkonkoma – to conform with social distancing and other public health guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 format is also intended to provide an economic boost to local restaurants that have struggled as a result of the virus. A list of participating restaurants will be released in the coming weeks.

This marks the tenth year that a chili-themed fundraiser has been hosted by MHAW, a not-for-profit organization that provides programs, services, and advocacy for children, adults, and Veterans facing mental health challenges.

“The pandemic has increased demand for mental health services across Suffolk County and across America,” said Michael Stoltz, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer of MHAW. “You can help the dedicated staff and volunteers of MHAW provide support to our neighbors by taking part in this wonderful ‘Chili Smackdown.’ It’s a fun and tasty way to strengthen our communities.”

The “grab-and go” chili served at MHAW’s Ronkonkoma headquarters on Saturday, October 17 will be cooked by two sets of community “Chili Teams” – three meat-based teams and two vegan teams. The chili teams participating are:

  • Creatures Comfort (Vegan)
  • Karen Boris Johnson Team (Vegan)
  • Great While Heat (Meat)
  • Suffolk County United Veterans (Meat)
  • Ronkonkoma Rotary (Meat)

To help minimize physical contact at the site, participants can purchase pints of chili for $5 in advance at http://chili.mhaw.org. Customers will also be asked to vote for their favorite meat chili and their favorite vegan chili.

MHAW also created a commemorative chili cookbook that features “journal-style” paid advertisements. The cookbook will be sold for $10. The organization will also raise funds through the sale of Chili Smackdown-branded face coverings, also being sold for $10. Raffle tickets are also being sold online for a number of unique and exciting prizes. The cookbook, face covering, and raffle tickets can be purchased at http://chili.mhaw.org.

Those unable to purchase chili can support MHAW’s mental health services on the following GoFundMe page: https://charity.gofundme.com/chili2020.

As in past years, MHAW will be seeking corporate and organizational sponsors for the event. For information about sponsorships, chili teams, and advertising in the commemorative cookbook, contact Ruth McDade at 631-672-9613 or rmcdade@mhaw.org.


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