The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Local education fundraiser combines food, philanthropy

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Photo by Hanna Hausman

The 50 Men Who Can Cook fundraiser featured “celebrity chefs.”

For the last 10 years, College Station Independent School District has combined food, fun and philanthropy at the annual 50 Men Who Can Cook fundraiser.
On Saturday, businesses, CSISD employees and patrons gathered at the Expo Center to support the CSISD Education Foundation, a non-profit public corporation that awards funds to both students and teachers. The event features “celebrity chefs,” which can be anyone from business owners, to teachers, to administrators and community leaders and media members. The chefs work at booths, usually on a team of two or three, and prepare 800 2-ounce samplers of their dish.
Education Foundation executive director Teresa Benden said the event has grown exponentially since its beginning.
“It started out as a small gathering, with only 300 people,” Benden said. “We’ve taken it from that to a full-blown event … This year we have 137 ‘celebrity chefs’ in 68 booths, and over 200 volunteers to actually help work the night of the event.”
Benden said the cooks aren’t professionally trained, so cooks aren’t charged an entry fee because their food is their donation.
KBTX Meteorologist Max Crawford and his team created Chicken Pepper Bacon snackers with a bacon jam cream cheese sauce to pair.
“We’ve been working on it all week,” Crawford said. “It’s been a little bit of a labor of love but it’s good to finally see all this [the food] get doled out … and see the satisfaction on people’s faces.”
Southwood Valley Assistant Principal Heather Sherman and her husband represented their school with Pecan Delights topped with a Bourbon whipped cream. Sherman said because of the Education Foundation, she’s been able to witness a difference made first-hand.
“One of the amazing things is that the College Station Education Foundation reached their millionth dollar this year to be able to hand out toward innovative teaching grants, which Southwood Valley feels so blessed to be recipients of that every year,” Sherman said. “Some grants helped out with our Head Start program, and our second grade teachers received some funds to help them penpal with other students across the district.”
In addition to grants, the Education Foundation awards scholarships to qualifying students. In 2016, the Education Foundation supported over $48,250 in student scholarships, according to the foundation’s website.
 Psychology senior Anne Ealy attended the fundraiser this year to show gratitude for the foundation’s role in her journey to college.
“I was a recipient of an Education Foundation Scholarship, so being able to come back and give back to something that blessed me as I stepped into my first year at a university is awesome. It’s something that really helped me out there,” Ealy said.

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