Newton, NJ – Plans are underway for the annual Chili Open Golf Classic fundraiser to be held on the grounds of the Sussex County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Feb. 4. Proceeds will benefit Project Give Shelter, a new Project Self-Sufficiency initiative to help Sussex County residents who need emergency temporary shelter or stable housing. The nearly 20-year-old event was recently handed off by the United Way to Project Self-Sufficiency.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to continue this popular wintertime event to raise funds to help our neighbors in need,” commented Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon. “Success in becoming self-sufficient is built on a stable foundation of secure and safe housing. It’s difficult to find a job, hold a job, get an education, or receive training when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep at night, or you must constantly relocate. Project Self-Sufficiency has comprehensive wraparound programs and the staff to coordinate our efforts with other community providers to assure families and children are not left out in the cold.”
Many individuals and families have been unable to keep up with expenses due to the pandemic, inflation and significant increases in the cost of living and now face losing their homes, Berry-Toon added.
The agency’s Project Give Shelter initiative is part of a longer-range effort to fight homelessness and is designed to aid both renters and landlords. The dedicated funds from the Chili Open will be used to provide local emergency shelter, security deposits, rent and utility payments as necessary and appropriate, Berry-Toon explained.
For the Chili Open, Project Self-Sufficiency plans to continue to partner with rotary clubs in Branchville, Newton and Wallkill to organize and serve breakfast and lunch, staff a cash bar and provide souvenir photos of the golfers, among other event assistance.
“The Chili Open has been driven successfully every year by a strong corps of dedicated volunteers who understand the importance of raising needed funds and having fun while doing it,” said Bruce Tomlinson, Project Self-Sufficiency development director, and a longtime Chili Open volunteer. “We are very fortunate that those loyal volunteers are continuing to assure the success of the Chili Open and we welcome more to join in.”
The Chili Open Golf Classic is played on a makeshift course at Sussex County Fairgrounds. Golfers play two of the four nine-hole, par three courses before heading indoors for lunch featuring a variety of fare donated by area restaurants, including of course, a selection of chili, with music from R.E.N.O. the Band, a golf contest, beverages, raffles and a 50/50. Only the pandemic in 2021 has prevented the Chili Open from being played every year since 2003. Weather conditions have ranged from over a foot of snow necessitating the plowing of the fairways, to ice and sleet, to unseasonably warm temperatures when golfers broke out their short-sleeved shirts.
Registration details and sponsorship opportunities can be found on the Project Self-Sufficiency website, https://www.projectselfsufficiency.org/chili-open.