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Chili’s gets community support for hospital

For the past five years Chili’s restaurant in Ennis has joined the chain’s restaurants nation wide to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year however, the Ennis location is planning to become involved in a major way.
Beginning Aug. 28 and running until Sept. 29, a variety of activities will be taking place at the restaurant beginning with the “Create a Pepper” coloring contest for kids. Manager Stacy Taylor and bartender Sylvia Bird are anxious to get the contest started and have the same reason for why they want their store to become more involved in the national program – the kids it helps.
“I support the program because I know that if my kids ever needed special care, I would take them to St. Jude,” Taylor said. “I would hope that if my kids needed help, someone else would donate or do what they could to make sure my kids had a great hospital to go to and I’m just doing the same. I also know St. Jude is a wonderful place and they take care of the whole family, not just the patient.”
Bird echoed Taylor’s comments saying that her main reason for getting behind the hospital is her six grandchildren.
“When you see your own family so healthy and happy it makes you think of others who don’t have that and if what we do makes it easier on a family dealing with a child being sick then I’m happy to do my part,” she said.
Besides the “Create a Pepper” coloring contest, which patrons can take part in for a minimum $1 donation, the store is also selling t-shirts for $12 and key covers for $5.
The big draw for patrons will be held Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 as members from the Ennis Fire Fighter’s and Police Officer’s Associations wait tables to help drum up donations for St. Jude. All tips given to the association members on those days will be donated to St. Jude and Bird says she is so grateful for the support of both organizations.
“I asked one of the organization members who is a regular customer if they wanted to wait tables and he immediately made a phone call and got behind the campaign,” she said. “Neither of the groups hesitated in their pledge to help us support St. Jude and we are grateful for their willingness to help us make a difference.”
Another familiar face who will take a swing at waiting tables is Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Judge Bill Woody. Woody will be waiting tables as his wife and cancer survivor Rita Woody mans a table to sell t-shirts and other items the restaurant has for sale to support St. Jude. Taylor says she’s excited about the amount of support the community has given the restaurant’s efforts.
“It means a lot to us that the community is as committed to this cause as we are and we hope that they will continue to keep us in mind over the next month as we raise money for the hospital,” she said.
In addition to the “celebrity” wait-staff the Blue Angels Motorcycle Group will also be bringing their bikes for patrons to see while they visit the restaurant.
Nationally, all Chili’s restaurants have ended the campaign by donating all of the proceeds from one day to St. Jude. This year that day will be Sept. 29 and Bird hopes to see the community support the campaign even if it is only on this day.
“I hope the restaurant is packed that day,” she said. “Even if members of the community don’t come to eat at any other time during the campaign, I hope they show up for this because it will help us meet our nation wide goal of $10 million.”
Nationally, Chili’s became involved with St. Jude in 2002 when they partnered to help support the hospital and its research. In 2004, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the Chili’s Care Center facility located beside the hospital. Last year Chili’s raised more than $8 million nation wide. Locally the Chili’s store averaged $8,687 but with a full slate of activities planned, Taylor and Bird hope to hit $13,000.
For more information on the campaign or to donate to local effort, contact 972-875-3421.

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Posted by on Aug 28 2008. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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