Southside Bank’s annual “Chili Cook-Off” sought to make Christmas a little brighter for children and their families by raising funds to support the Tyler Patrolman Association’s “Blue Santa” event. The Chili Cook-Off fundraiser allowed Southside employees to come together and support local first responders.
Tonya Dean, the organizer for the Chili Cook-Off event, shared that “Southside is a family, and the Cook-Off gives [team members] the opportunity for fellowship and camaraderie, while also supporting an incredible cause. This event is just one small way we can help make Christmas a little brighter for children and families in need.”
The Blue Santa initiative allows Tyler police officers to provide children with backpacks at the beginning of the school year, give them new coats during the winter, and take them on a shopping spree with a police officer during the Christmas season. During the shopping spree, children can purchase any item(s) of their choosing with their allotted funds.
In November 2022, the Chili Cook-Off fundraiser raised over $12,500 for Blue Santa. Chuck Boyce, a Tyler police officer and Blue Santa event organizer, anticipates serving over 300 children in East Texas through Blue Santa in 2022. He shares how he’s “just so appreciative. I look forward to the [Southside] Chili Cook-Off every year. It’s an event in itself. The Southside team helps make Blue Santa a ‘Hallmark moment.’ It’s an incredible thing to be a part of.”