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Chili on the menu
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The weather is supposed to be nearly perfect today in Pembroke.

The chili might be even better than that, as several teams vie for cash prizes and bragging rights in the North Bryan Chamber of Commerce’s 2nd annual Chili Cook-Off.

The public is invited to the event, which is from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Senior Center on Hwy. 280 downtown.

Organizers say the more the merrier. They’d like to see attendance hit triple digits.

"Last year we had about 75 people attend," said Mary Warnell, president of the NBCC. "This year we hope to have more. We’re anticipating beautiful weather and a good crowd."

Chili isn’t all that’s on the menu. There’s also iced tea from McDonald’s, cokes from Coca-Cola and ice cream provided by Blue Bell.

The event is a fundraiser for the NBCC, which will soon have its own office at the Welcome Center downtown. But proceeds from the Cook-Off go entirely to aiding the group’s membership.

"More than 90 percent of our business community is made up of small businesses," Warnell said. "The proceeds from this fundraiser go toward operating services to our members, such as welcome packets to new residents coming into town,. "It’s also to provide workshops and seminars to enhance our businesses."

And that’s not all. Goodwill will be at the event to collect donations of "gently used" merchandise ranging from clothing and furniture to books, housewares and computers.

""We are thrilled to bring our Neighbor to Neighbor Business to Business Program to the city of Pembroke," said Joe Driggers, director of marketing and development at Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Inc.

"Goodwill’s Neighbor to Neighbor Business to Business Program is a grassroots donation program encouraging businesses and individuals to conduct a donation drive within their communities and places of employment," he said.

The organization provides a number of services for job seekers, from job training to post employment support "to strengthen communities and families by training people to become independent, tax-paying members of society," Driggers said.

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