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Cook-Off challenges area chefs, businesses

Date: 2/20/2015

WESTFIELD – Joe Deedy enjoys supporting local causes while getting the word out about his business, Moolicious Farm on Feeding Hills Road in Southwick.

Moolicious Farm is among a host of restaurants, businesses, schools and civic organizations that are once again supporting a local institution – the Westfield YMCA.

The YMCA’s popular fundraiser, the Chili, Chowder and Chocolate Cook-Off, is slated for March 7, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“This is a fundraiser for the Y’s annual campaign with half the proceeds going toward another community civic establishment,” said Cindy Agan, health and fitness director, during an interview with Reminder Publications.

Now in its fifth year, Agan hopes to surpass last year’s goal of $3,000 that was raised. This spring, the YMCA is assisting the Westfield Police Department to raise money to purchase Taser cartridges. In the past, half of the proceeds has helped the Cancer House of Hope, Salvation Army, Red Cross and the Westfield Fire Department.

“The YMCA has a long-standing policy of never turning away anyone due to inability to pay,” said Agan. “In order to provide funding for financial assistance, the Y conducts an Annual Support Campaign within the YMCA's service area. These funds go directly to provide financial assistance or scholarships.”

In 2014, the YMCA provided scholarships to more than 900 individuals and families for programs including 3,210 weeks of before and after school child care, 270 weeks of summer camp, and 163 months of preschool child care, as well as subsidies for participation in swim team, gym team, youth sports and membership activities, according to Agan.

“We believe in the vital importance of providing children and families with safe, sensible and fun activities in order to steer their lives in the right direction,” she said, adding, “Our programs help build character and offer healthy resources for development of spirit, mind and body.”

Agan also acknowledged the members and friends of the YMCA who volunteer their time and effort to raise funds “because they believe strongly in the commitment to never turn anyone away due to inability to pay.”

At press time, Deedy will be joined by vendors including Mrs. Murphy's Donut's, Mama Cakes, The Arbors, Armbrook Village, Spradley Deluxe Coffee, the Westfield Fire Department and Westfield Police Department, Hetty Van Oosteveen and the Westfield Rotary.

“We are bringing Cheeseburger Chowder and a chocolate ice cream creation that we are working on,” Deedy said. “Let’s face it, it’s winter and people are tired of being inside. The turnout is great, it’s quick, and it puts our business in front of people that might not drive by our new location.”

 Deedy noted that when Moolicious Farm was located at the Pioneer Dairy location in Southwick, he only sold ice cream.

"People don’t realize that we have indoor seating and a lunch menu,” he said, noting his business is seasonal and re-opened Feb. 14.

More vendors are welcome and encouraged to participate in the tasty event and can call Agan at 568-8631, ext. 323, or email her at, for more information.

“Chefs cooking either a chili or chowder must do so in a Board of Health approved kitchen,” said Agan.

Tickets can be purchased in advance starting Feb. 23 at the YMCA for $7. Tickets at the door will be $10, and children three and under when accompanied by an adult will be admitted free.

Each person purchasing a ticket will have the opportunity to vote in each category, and the business with the most votes receives a small token of appreciation from the YMCA.

Deedy encouraged other businesses to also participate in this fun fundraiser.

“It’s cheap advertising, the social media is great,” he said. “The locals support this event, and we see an influx of people the following week. We can be competitive with other vendors and have fun at the same time at this event.”