Four of the charity recipients of this year's Chili Open proceeds joined us at our April 16 meeting to tell us about their organizations.
1. Jane Amata, of Transitional Housing Inc., based in Cleveland, said the organization assists homeless women. Most of them are victim of domestic abuse or mental illness. The goal at THI is to help the women become self-sufficient through education. More than half of the women currently being served attend Cleveland State University or Cuyahoga Community College.

2. Jim Fox, of the Children's Free Care Fund, said the fund was started by Howard Hanna Realty in 1988 to provide medical assistance to children without insurance. Each year, local Howard Hanna offices host fundraisers. The Strongsville office, featuring our own Laurie Meister, raised $10,000 at a holiday fundraiser in December. Overall, the organization has raised more that $6.1 million - all of which goes into the childrens' fund.

3. Lisa-Jean Sylvia (in photo) said the Cleveland Food Bank is the second largest program of its kind in the country. Presently, one of every nine people in Cuyahoga County receive emergency assistance. The Food Bank now serves 250,000 people, up from 160,000 people at the same time last year.

4. Ken Kasler, of Youth Challenge, said the organization offers year-round athletic and other activities for kids with physical disabilities like cerebral palsy and other conditions. Last year, Youth Challenge, which relies on teenage volunteers to assist four paid staffers, served 150 disabled kids. Youth Challenge was the beneficiary of last year's Fun Run event.