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ALTON/GODFREY - The Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club will host its 38th annual Chili Chowdown fundraiser, complete with a secret chili recipe, on Monday, March 4, 2024.

The club will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner from 4:30–7 p.m. at Main Street United Methodist Church in Alton. Tickets cost $10 for chili, dessert and a drink. All proceeds go back to the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club, which funds projects around the Riverbend community.

“One of our mottos is service above self, and so we’re looking for members that are community-minded and want to make this community a better place to live,” said event co-chair Steve Schwartz. “The great thing is, [the Chili Chowdown is] one of our major fundraisers, so it helps us provide funds for our programs that we do throughout the year for the community.”

Among these programs are several scholarships that the club distributes to high school and college students. The Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club gives away $10,000 in scholarships every year. Schwartz and co-chair Andy Bowen noted their delight to see the dedicated local students who do so much for the community already.

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The Rotarians also work with many of these young people through the Interact Clubs, which are Rotary chapters for high school and college students. Bowen explained that the Interact Clubs introduce the kids to the Rotary Club and encourage them to stay involved with the club as they get older. Many of these Interact Club members will be volunteering at the Chili Chowdown.

“It blows us away, the kids that come in and the things that they’re into and all the different community service projects that they’re involved in,” Bowen said. “Boy, when I was in school in the 70s, we weren’t anything like the kids are today. So it’s always wonderful. They’re always very impressive.”

In addition to their scholarships, the Rotary Club funds many projects throughout the community, from the Robert Wadlow statue to Lincoln-Douglas Square. Bowen said they have contributed nearly $3 million in projects since the late 1960s. They complete a project every year.

“We’re looking for any kind of events like that we can be a part of in the community to help pitch in,” Bowen added. “It’s really nice because any project that we do, the Rotary members in our club are very active in it, and we have a big group of Rotary members who will get involved in this.”

This includes the Chili Chowdown, where 50 Rotarians will volunteer throughout the day. But only co-chairs Schwartz and Bowen know the award-winning secret recipe that makes the Chili Chowdown such a popular community event.

You can check it out yourself on Monday, March 4, 2024, while supporting the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club. Learn more about the club at their official website at

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