The Gahanna branch of the YMCA of Central Ohio will host its second Chili Cook Off from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, with proceeds to benefit the People Helping People assistance program.

The Gahanna branch of the YMCA of Central Ohio will host its second Chili Cook Off from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, with proceeds to benefit the People Helping People assistance program.

Chris Angellatta, branch executive director, said the Y would conduct an open house on the same day to attract some chili tasters to the event.

He said local cooks are invited to submit an entry for the friendly chili competition. The chili cooks are encouraged to make a healthy recipe and to share nutritional information about their chili. A bowl of chili made with lean meat and beans could be as little as 220 calories, 7 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein. This is a "People's choice" competition, according to Angellatta. Cash tips will determine the winner.

"Last year it was all individuals who competed, but we also welcome any professionals," he said. "There were some amazing chilis. There were some that were extremely hot. We had one white chili, and a chicken chili that was really good."

The inaugural year attracted eight competitors and raised $1,275. All tips and $5 taster fees will go to the Y's People Helping People financial assistance program.

Financial assistance at the Gahanna Y has been on the rise since mid-2008, according to Angellatta.

"We have already supported over 340 more individuals than we did all of last year," he said.

The Y assists children and families for membership, summer camp, swim team and teen leadership programs. Applicants are screened based on household income and family size. Everyone pays something to participate.

"This is a great way to raise awareness about the Y's financial assistance program during a time of year we are not actively fundraising," said Dave Cepek, chairperson of the People Helping People campaign.

Angellatta said the cook-off is really more of an awareness activity.

"It allows us to talk to people about our need to fund-raise," he said. "It's certainly a way to raise awareness with members and the community in general. We use it as an opportunity to get people into the Y to see what we do."

Those interested in competing should call Angellatta at 340-3196, ext. 205, or visit www.ymcacolumbus.org/Gahanna.