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Chili cook-off honors memory of Les Reile

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POSTED July 14, 2014 12:14 a.m.

The late Les Reile made a habit of feeding the hungry in Manteca, Ripon, Escalon and Stockton.

It is why this year’s Second Harvest Food Bank Chili Cook Off is being held in his memory. Reile would drive to all the food bank locations despite his disabilities, unload his electric wheelchair and head into the offices where he was known to hand out checks for $1,000.

On Saturday, Aug. 9, the annual Les Reile Chili Pot Cook-Off is being held at the Manteca Transit Center at the corner of South Main Street and Moffat Boulevard. It will raise funds for the Senior Brown Bag and Food for Thought programs.  Senior citizens have long gotten their bag lunches at Manteca’s Senior Center where Reile was often a fixture before he passed away.

There are nine cooking positions open for area competitors to present their chili cooking skills.  The entry fee is $30 prior to Aug. 1 and $40 later.  The contestants are required to cook six quarts of chili to feed to expected 350 people at the “family friendly” event. 

Second Harvest Food Bank is awarding prizes to the first, second and third place cooks as well as to the Hottest Table and the People’s Choice.  Applications are available at www.localfoodbank.org ro by going to Second Harvest Food Bank in person at 704 E. Industrial Park Drive in Manteca.

Those attending the cook off can purchase an “all you can eat” chili pass for $10 either online, at the Second Harvest office, or at the door. 

Food Bank spokeswoman Jessica Vaughn gave her personal invitation to the community saying: “Joins us for a night of excellent food, lively raffles, silent and live auctions.  This family friendly event is a must attend for anyone who wants to help fight hunger in their community.”

Vaughan said that Second Harvest is seeking out chefs, caterers and anyone else wanting to prepare chili in the name of fighting hunger.

Second Harvest Food Bank serves over 365,000 people in need by collaborating with some 120 non-profit charities to serve a seven county area that include San Joaquin, Stanislaus and the Mother Lode counties.  The non-profit charities visit the Manteca based food bank as often as twice a week to select packaged groceries, canned fruit and vegetables, grains, dairy products, meats and fresh produce.

For additional information contact Jessica Vaughan at 209.239.2091.

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