By Angie Bado, TSB Publisher
The McKinney High School cafeteria was crowded with hungry folks of all ages who feasted on chili, cornbread and the fixin’s at the McKinney Noon Lions Club’s chili supper on Thursday evening. It wasn’t just any chili supper, it was the 60th annual chili supper — a McKinney tradition prepared by members of the Lions Club.
JoEllen Zabel, also known as the infamous “Chili Queen,” accidentally fell into organizing the event some 17 years ago. She said she remembers thinking to herself, “How hard could it be to put together a chili supper?” And the rest, as they say, is history.
For TSB’s recent Stuart J’s Lens episode interviewing Zabel, please see below.
Zabel, who has been a member of the McKinney Lions Club for 22 years, said the organization now serves more than 500 people at their annual supper each year.
“This is such a tradition,” Zabel said. “This year there is a little more buzz because it’s the 60th supper, but we really didn’t have any different goals. I just love that we can make it a more inclusive event. For one price a family can enjoy the food and the face painting, the bounce house and everything. We can do that and still raise money for eyeglasses for kids.”
The volunteer organization provides eyeglasses and exams for McKinney ISD students in need, and also raises funds to sendchildren with physical challenges to Texas Lions Camp at no charge.
Lions Club member Richard Moore said he has been a part of the organization for more than three years. “This club is a good bunch of people. We do a lot of good for the community,” Moore said.
Kim and John LaLonde, who have lived in McKinney since June of 2012, sampled the chili for the first time during Thursday night’s supper. The LaLondes both chimed in and said, “It’s really good (the chili). We will be back.”
JoEllen Zabel, organizer of the chili supper, sporting her Lions Club apron.