Chili Dinner

Event details

  • Friday | January 25, 2019
  • 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Menomonee Falls High School Cafeteria

2018 marks another successful year for the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club chili dinner. This dinner is a two-day event that was held on January 11 and 12. Thursday, January 11, we make the chili and Friday, January 12, we sell the chili. This year we held the dinner before the varsity basketball game, Menomonee Falls Indians vs Sussex Hamilton Chargers. Go Indians! We won!

We start preparing for this event in September. At that time, we pick a date, go to the printers, contact local businesses for donations and secure a place to cook the chili. October is when we start contacting club members asking for help selling tickets. November leads us to the PR for the dinner. By December we start lining up volunteers for the 2-day event. Once January arrives we are in the final push of shopping and all the last minute details.

This year we offered chili with meat, meatless chili, chili with noodles, hot dogs, chips and a beverage. You could eat in or take a container as a carry out. We had 3 raffles this year: a 50/50 which netted the club $251.00 won by Erin Davidson, a candy basket won by club member Dan Knodl, and a night-on-the-town basket won by Lolita Schneider. These brought in $247.00 for the club.

This year marks the first time we sold out of chili. The club has 189 members and 129 members responded. The tickets are numbered for a better accounting system. During the 2-day event we had 56 club volunteers, 6 members from the Sussex/Lisbon club volunteer and 10 volunteers from the Kohl’s Cares program. Six local grocery stores donated for a total of $150.00. They included Pick ‘N’Save, Costco, Target, Fresh Thyme Market, Kwik Trip and Woodman’s. The meat for the chili was donated as well as about half the vegetables.

We had $5,219.50 in pre ticket sales and $279.50 sales at the door. We had 263 people eat in and 188 people who took chili in takeout containers. This year our total revenue was $7,442.00 with expenses of $1,400.22 for a net profit of $6,041.78.

Thank you to everyone who bought or donated tickets, sold tickets, came and helped both days, and those who came and enjoyed a bowl of chili. A special thanks to Ann Freudenthal who lined up all the volunteers, Shannon Dederich who lined up the Kohl’s Cares volunteers, and Jerry Mislang who does a great job promoting the dinner with all the coaches and parents of both schools.

Thank you to my committee, Sue Carney who always keeps me grounded and on track, Kathy Matthiessen who makes everything about this event fun and always makes herself available for whatever comes up, Rose Schwartz for her organization and creative talent, and Tom Wagner for his superb shopping skills. That is why we get the best deals out there.

As always, if you have any suggestions on how to make this event better, and stronger please email me at kirstensperl@gmail.com . We are also asking from the 60 club members who never responded to letters, emails or phone calls, is there any way that would make it easier for you to get involved? Please let me or someone else in the club know.

Chili Dinner Chair: Kirsten Sperl

Chili Dinner Co-chair: Kathy Matthiessen

Photos by Don Gorzek