Ottumwa school raises funds with chili supper


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

OTTUMWA — During Catholic Schools Week in January, Seton Catholic School in Ottumwa hosted a chili supper fundraiser. It’s a yearly tradition that began more than 10 years ago with just a few crock pots of chili. Now, seven roaster pans full of chili are served and hot dogs have been added to the menu, said Richard Palen, school board president. All the food is donated.

Richard Palen
Father Patrick Hilgendorf browns meat for chili last month for Seton Catholic School – Ottumwa’s annual chili supper.

Father Patrick Hilgendorf, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Ottumwa, claims he isn’t much of a cook, but he got in on the action this year by browning meat for the chili. Palen said the pastor jokes that “browning 60 pounds of meat isn’t cooking.”

The event now includes a dessert auction. This tradition started four years ago when people brought more desserts than needed for the meal. “Rather than let them go to waste, we auctioned them off to make a little extra money,” Palen said. “Now, we have plenty of desserts for the meal and we get about 50 desserts donated by school families and the (Ottumwa) churches specifically for the auction.”


The chili supper raised almost $1,800 for the Home and School Organization and the dessert auction brought in almost $3,000 for the school’s General Fund.

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