By Liz Pulver and Darwin Yanes
The Nicholas Demidovich Memorial Fund’s sixth annual Chili Cook-Off Contest on Sunday Mar. 25 had over 150 attendees who raised $3,500 for local Boy Scouts.
The cook-off, which took place at the Huntington Elks Lodge, featured 15 different chili concoctions and a silent auction. The proceeds help financially strapped scouting families pay for things like summer camp, dues and uniforms which can cost upwards of $3,000 a year.
“The cook-off provides an opportunity to enjoy an evening of food, fun and fundraising while doing something special for these worthy children,” Peter Demidovich, son of the late Demidovich and head of the non-profit organization, said.
The organization is in honor of the late Nicholas Demidovich, a man who devoted his adult life to the Huntington Boy Scouts until his sudden death in 2006.
People from all over Long Island gathered together to compete in this cook-off for a cause. Many of the attendees and contestants, were there because of the impact the Boy Scouts have had in their community.
“All of the Eagle Scouts that I’ve known throughout my life have taken on a leadership position when there have been,” Matthew Arnold, an attendee, said. “They’ve become an effective member of the community, raising families, buying houses, shopping local, being involved in a lot of kids activities. So I think community wise, you know, [Boy Scouts] bring good community involved people.”
The key to graduating from a Boy Scout to an Eagle Scout is completing a community outreach project. Many of these projects are visible in Huntington and the surrounding towns.
“In our town we have a gazebo that was built in one of our parks and we get people writing to us all the time about how great their projects are,” Janet Lombardo, a cook-off contestant and active community member, said. “ [Boy Scouts] have definitely a positive effect and we are lucky that we have so many kids interested in it.”
Scouts selected to receive the funding are either privately nominated by a troop leader or have written letters to the Nicholas Demidovich Memorial Fund. Demidovich reviews the letters and picks the children the foundation will sponsor.
“It seems to me, by the letters that [the Boy Scouts] have written, that [the foundation] really made an impact on their lives,” Catherine Demidovich-Bone, daughter of the late Demidovich and event organizer, said.
The Huntington Elks Lodge sponsors Boy Scout Troop #106 and Cub Scout Pack #66, and has hosted the fundraiser since its inception in 2011.
“Each and every year it gains momentum,”Alyssa Nightingale, Exalted Ruler of the Huntington Elks Lodge said. “Anything we can do to help the scouts, we’re on board with.”