The South Central Community Block Watch and Merion Village Association are combining forces -- and chili recipes -- to raise scholarship money for a graduating South High School senior.

CORRECTION: The print version of this story gave an incorrect website to register for the chilli cook-off. To register, go to merionvillage.org/chili-cook-off.

The South Central Community Block Watch and Merion Village Association are combining forces -- and chili recipes -- to raise scholarship money for a graduating South High School senior.

This year's annual chili cook-off will start at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Hey Hey Bar & Grill, 361 E. Whittier St.

Both neighborhood groups still are looking for local cooks to bring both traditional and vegetarian chili. To register, go to merionvillage.org/chili-cook-off.

There is no cost to register, said Jessica Hatala, vice president of the Merion Village Association.

Admission is $5 and patrons can sample all the chili that's available, as well as cast a vote for the best recipe in each category and best overall.

The event will continue until the chili runs out, Hatala said.

She said the cookoff is an opportunity for those to celebrate their community and meet their neighbors in a casual setting over hot food.

"This is about community involvement," Hatala said. "This is to bring people together. We want to raise awareness of South High."

Staci McWhirter, vice president of the South Central Commons Block Watch, said both her group and the Merion Village Association have held separate events for the same cause.

"So, since we all get along, we thought it might make more sense to collaborate and hold one bigger event to benefit the school," McWhirter said.

The scholarship will benefit a South High School graduating senior who is going to further his or her education at a traditional college or trade school, she said.

The amount of the scholarship will be determined based on how much money is raised, she said.

"South High is a big part of our south-side community and the students there are assets to the community," McWhirter said.

"There hasn't been enough interaction between the school and the community," she said. "South Central Commons is trying to bridge that gap.

'And we can't expect the students to say, 'We want to be a part of this community, we want to help this community,' unless we as the adults set the example we want them to follow."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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