The Waco ISD Education Foundation announced Thursday the HEB Celebrity Cookoff Feb. 24 raised a record $136,000, and every single dollar will go back into District classrooms in the form of grants.
This year’s 11th annual fundraiser at the Waco Convention Center eclipsed the previous record of nearly $117,000, which was set last year in the event that features more than 30 local celebrities sharing a favorite home recipe with nearly 500 attendees.
We are thrilled with this year’s total and excited the event continues to grow and get better each year,” said Taylor Bledsoe, the Chairman of the Education Foundation Board. “We’re thankful for the great work by the chefs and volunteers, and all this money will help us do some amazing things in our classrooms.”
The evening culminated with a Parkdale Elementary School art teacher gambling and missing out on winning a 2-year lease on a new 2017 Jeep Wrangler from Allen Samuels Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep- Ram. Sarah Perez, who is expecting her first child in May, still went home with a total of $1,400 in HEB Gift Cards after playing the Shopper Showdown game at the charity event.
Perez made it to the finals of that game along with Michelle Gaertner, qualifying to play one game on the GWAMA Board for a grand prize. Gaertner missed out on a 7-day luxury Alaskan cruise when her disc ended up in the $600 Gift Card slot.
The HEB sponsored event has raised close to $1 million dollars in more than a decade for Waco ISD students and teachers. The Foundation annually awards more than $100,000 in grants to fund teacher’s creative and innovative learning ideas.
HEB President Suzanne Wade surprised attendees by making a $15,000 donation to the Foundation at the event, in addition to the title sponsor’s other prize commitments. Other major sponsors at the Celebrity Cookoff included Waco Coca-Cola, Waco Motorsports, Allen Samuels Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram, Lowe’s, Window World, Authentic Granite & Marble, KXXV News Channel 25 and Cargill Value Added Meats.
The outstanding lineup of Celebrity Chefs included Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain, City Manager Dale Fisseler, KXXV’s Ann Harder and Matt Hines, Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt, McLennan Community College President Dr. Johnette McKown, former Baylor University President Ken Starr and his wife Alice, and McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna.
Chef awards at the end of the evening went to:
||Dillon Meek, Waco City Councilman
||Johnny Tusa, Waco ISD Athletic Director
||Patti’s Kitchen / Morticians
||WISD / Dr. Bonny Cain
||Judge Ken & Alice Starr
||Stephanie Peters / Cargill
|People’s Choice Chef:
||Bill Davenport / HEB
|People’s Choice Chef (2nd place):
||Sloan Kuehl / First Natl. Bank Central Texas
|People’s Choice Chef (3rd place):
|Best Use of HEB Products:
||Beth Richards & Dustin Drew / Mix 104.9 FM