By ROBERT ANKRAPP
For the Times-Herald
HEIGHTS — The Dearborn Heights Professional Fire Fighters will host its 30th annual charity Chili Cook-Off and Family Picnic from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at Parkland Park, Ann Arbor Trail between Outer Drive and Evergreen Road. Chili judging will begin about 2 p.m.
In addition to the chili cooking competition, the event features a host of family oriented activities, including food and beverages, live music, a family picnic area, face painting, a moonwalk and other children’s games, and a fire engine water shower. Donated prizes for all ages expecting to total over $5,000 also will be raffled off at the event. Prizes include electronic items, toys, tools, retail items, gift certificates, and non-perishable goods.
Prize donation pickups can be arranged by calling 313-791-3676 or 313-791-9880.
Proceeds from the event support the DHPFFU charity fund, which contributes to several local charities, including the Great Lakes Burn Camp, which supports young fire victims who have experienced injury or disfigurement from severe burns.
Heights Firefighter Jammal Faraj, one of the event’s organizers, is optimistic that this year’s event will be another successful one.
“Once again, we have a lot of firefighters working hard on this one” he said. “We support a lot of charities throughout the year, but the Great Lakes Burn Camp is one that’s really close to all our hearts. Any time we can do something to help those kids who have experienced the pain, trauma and the lifetime of disfigurement because of a fire, we’re going to be there to help them.
“Our community has been great in supporting this event year after year, and we’re looking forward to another great, fun one this year as we celebrate our 30th anniversary.”
A key element in the firefighters’ goal to support local charities is their ability to secure public donations. Public donations play a major role in the success of this event, as well as their ability to help as many deserving people as possible through the charities they support, Faraj said.
“Donations are something we desperately need to be able to continue with the success we’ve achieved in past years,” Faraj said. “All donated items are placed on display during the event for viewing by the guests. The items are then raffled to those who purchase tickets for the prize drawing. Subsequently, the more attractive the gift, the more raffle tickets are placed in that gift’s ‘ticket canister’ for the drawing.
Cash donations are also welcome, which go directly to the various charities. Faraj said 100 percent of the proceeds from their events are used to offset the charities they support. Firefighters accept no compensation for their work on the event, he said.
“We hope folks will come out on Sept. 17 for another great event,” he said, “and find it in their hearts to give whatever they can to help these deserving kids.”
To make monetary donations, make checks payable to: Dearborn Heights Professional Fire Fighters Union Charity Fund (or DHPFFU Charity Fund). They can be mailed or taken to the Dearborn Heights Fire Department, 1999 N. Beech Daly, Dearborn Heights, MI, 48127; attention Firefighter Jammal Faraj. The tax identification number is available on request.