UPDATE: Auction raises at least $3,620 for Buckner this year.
The Golden Triangle Chapter of the Texas Chefs Association and the Lamar University Hospitality Program hosted the seventh annual Gingerbread Competition to benefit Buckner Children and Family Services on Nov. 29 at the Civic Center in Beaumont.
Chef Charles Duit of the Chef’s Association and a chef instructor for the Culinary Arts division of the Hospitality Program at LU coordinated the event. Community members from local businesses judged the competition, which consisted of four categories: high school students division, Lamar University students division, non-professional division and property, or professional, division. Cash awards were given to the first-place winners in all categories and to the second-place winners in the student categories.
Duit said participants in the competition had to use only edible decorative items for the houses, including wrapped candies like Hershey’s kisses.
“Taking care of kids is expensive, and it’s not getting any cheaper,” Duit said. “The neat thing about this is that the auction gets about $3,000 to $5,000 per year for Buckner’s.”
According to Rhonda Robichau of Buckner Children and Family Services, the auction garnered $3,620 for the organization this year. She said the total could rise because those purchasing the houses sometimes give more than promised with their winning bid.
“It’s not just about the money,” Robichau said of the auction. “It is about the awareness it raises, as well. We are very, very pleased. We had several sponsors who helped make that happen, as well. This event raises awareness for all of our programs. Not only do we do foster care and adoption. We also have an emergency shelter where a child will stay 30 to 90 days. It lessens the number of moves a child will make. On any given day, we have over a hundred kids in care, whether it is through residential, foster care or one of our community programs.”
Robichau said she is grateful to the sponsors of the event, the Texas Chefs Association Golden Triangle Chapter and Lamar University Hospitality Program, Buckner Auxiliary, Market Basket, Harbor Hospice of Beaumont, Ted and Sandra Cutaia, and Mr. and Mrs. E.G. Cordts.