The third annual Sedalia-Pettis County United Way Campaign Kickoff was held at Convention Hall in Liberty Park on Thursday, August 30 at noon.  For the last three years, United Way has had celebrity chefs cook for the crowd to show how people can come together for the betterment of the community.

The celebrity chefs this year were United Way supporters: Russ Foote with chicken and noodles, Bob Holem with taco soup, John Kehde with sliced smoked turkey and cranberry pineapple salsa, Randy Lee with BBQ turkey, Tom Horn with garlic cheddar potato casserole, Same Jones with Souper Bean Chowder, Bob Satnan with dream beans, Ray Smith with camp beans, Jeff McKinney with frutti di Bosco tartlets, Todd Selck with brownies, Bothwell Regional Health Center with blueberry upside-down cake, and Jim Van Horn with Ribbon cake.

This year is the first year with a new Executive Director, Linda Kirk, who took over for Elle Wasson-Duggan earler this year.  She is excited for the challenge of making sure that all 25 agencies get all the funding that they need.

Esquivel announced that this years goal is $575,000 and that goal is a basic goal and that it's important to raise as much money as they can for all the agencies that are involved.  Last year the United Way raised $756,993 and was the most successful fund drive in the Sedalia-Pettis County United Way drive history.

Campaign Chair Deidre Esquivel said, "The event ties with the campaign, because we want people to know that it doesn't matter what your donation is.  With the donations tied in together, we can raise the $575,000 that we need to support our Sedalia and Pettis County Agencies."

The theme this year is "A Little U Goes A Long Way."

The chefs were judged by the amount of applause they received.  There was even a sound gauge that showed who had the loudest applause to figure out the winners from the celebrity chefs.

John Kehde won for the second year in a row for the main dish; Bob Satnan won the side dish, and Bothwell Regional Health Center won best dessert.  Kehde took the best overall chef and said, "Thank you so much, and I wish I could do more for the United Way, and I hope for great success this year.  We're going through some difficult times, but I'm sure we'll pull through."

If you would like a packet for your work place or would like to donate, be sure to visit the Sedalia-Pettis County United Way website.