You miss one year and they bring the big guns back.
That’s the way it goes sometimes. Last year, for the first time in several years, I missed the Joplin Association for the Blind’s annual chili and soup feed. So, this year, Virgil McCoy decided he needed to get back into the kitchen to help with the feed, which is today at the Blind Association building, 311 S. Schifferdecker Ave.
Virgil and people such as Harry Guinn, Tom Forston and a host of other volunteers and association staff members have for years whipped up the chili and vegetable beef soup that headline the fundraiser, while more volunteers provide the desserts that cap off the feast.
It’s definitely a group effort, but Stephanie Mann said Virgil sort of drives the chili train, if you will. Last year, Virgil took a break from his kitchen duties. He has battled health issues for a number of years and had been threatening to hand his apron off to someone else for some time, and he finally backed away a bit last year.
Stephanie said she and some of the staff members at the association were sitting around a month or so ago, trying to figure out how they were going to make the Mississippi River-sized supply of chili, when they got word that Virgil was thinking about coming back to the kitchen.
“Well, I got on the phone and said, ‘Virgil, we’re making chili. Would you like to help?’ And he did,” Stephanie said.
I need to point out something or Virgil — when I see him at lunch today — will kill me. Virgil is just one of 20 or 30 generous folks who help make the association’s chili fundraiser possible. I also should point out that all of the people donate their time because they enjoy what they do and because they strongly support the association’s mission.
And I also should point out that Virgil’s chili and Harry’s vegetable beef soup are very, very good., as are the desserts.
The cost of the chili and soup feed has remained the same for as long as I can remember. For $6, an adult can get a bowl of chili or soup, a drink and a dessert. The cost for children is $3. The feed will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. Takeout orders are available by calling 417-623-5721 or by faxing your order to 417-623-1968.
It’s a neat deal for a neat cause.
Speaking of neat deals, Howard Spiva dropped by the newsroom Wednesday to update me on upcoming Veterans Day activities.
At 7:30 a.m. Friday, a free breakfast for veterans will be served at Eastmorland Elementary School, 1131 S. Highview Ave., as part of the school’s annual Veterans Day assembly.
Then at 10 a.m. Saturday, the annual Veterans Day parade, sponsored by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, gets under way at 15th and Main streets. Howard said that as of Wednesday, there were more than 50 entries in the parade. After the parade, a free concert will be held at Memorial Hall. If the weather turns nasty and organizers have to cancel the parade, Howard said, folks can gather at Memorial Hall for the concert.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, a ceremonial 21-gun salute will be conducted in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store at 2623 West Seventh St., followed by free snacks and drinks for veterans.
At noon Sunday, a free barbecue for veterans and their families, hosted by American Legion Post 1080 from New York (more on that in Friday’s column) will be held at Memorial Hall, followed by a dinner for veterans and their families at Greenwood Baptist Church, 3501 Apricot Drive.
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