SHUMWAY – Bouncy houses, balloons, chili cuisine, Christian music and a petting zoo were just a few of the highlights of Saturday at Enduring Freedom Ministries.
This year was the 15th EFM Freedomfest and the 9th held at the Old Primary School and EFM Headquarters in Shumway.
Enduring Freedom Ministries director Vickie Kight said Freedomfest incorporates Matthew 25 of the Bible all at once.
âWe feed peopleâ¦ dress people and visit people,â Kight said.
âEverything is free,â she said of Freedomfest. âWe do this to give back to the community and also to bring the community together. “
She said a waterer had been set up on the grounds for anyone wishing to be baptized during the event.
Kight said they featured chili cuisine with the top two winners taking home awards. She said that after cooking, the chili is used to make chilidogs to serve to those attending the Freedomfest celebration.
Three judges – Amber Walls, Tasha Fetters and Ashley Tappendorf – made their decision as six cooks offered their best bowl of chili.
âThe judges have made a decision,â EFM volunteer Melissa Lagerhausen told contestants during the firing.
Clifford Miller won first prize, a 40-inch VIZIO high-definition television. Miller said he has a passion for cooking.
âI love to cook,â Miller said. “I cooked a full-bodied chili with diced tomatoes, sweet onion and a little jalapeno, a touch of brown sugar to try to sweeten it.”
Lagerhausen awarded the second prize, a Vac Mop, to Pat Boggs. Boggs said his chili is not necessarily made according to a fixed recipe.
âI cooked it and my husband Larry chopped the onions and tasted it,â Boggs said. âHe gave me his approval.
âI really don’t have a recipe. I’m just starting to throw things away and basically if it tastes good, âshe said. âI am not measuring anything.
She said she tried something a little different in preparation for this year.
âThis year I added some hot spicy tomato juice V-8 instead of all the chili powders,â Boggs said.
The music provided at the event was a group of Christian music artists named Amplified Truth. The Christian music group featured Christian recording artist Frankie Shayne Pearman of Huchinson, Kansas. The group performed at the inaugural Beecher City Farmers Market on June 3.
Elijah Doty, owner of Doty Sound Productions owner, donated his services for the EFM Freedomfest mixing live sound for the band Amplified Truth.
Anna Taylor from rural Vandalia brought her Anna Taylor petting zoo to the EFM for children visiting the event to enjoy. She also supervised mule rides for older children.
Balloon artist and evangelist Virgil Cisney of Greenup has created animals from balloons for children who want to listen to short stories from the Bible.
Meanwhile, researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, representing the Military Family Research Institute, contacted the rural veterans. Representatives of the research study, Jeannette Tarqueno and Jake Newton, were available Saturday to speak with rural veterans.
The group has visited the EFM in recent months to recruit local veterans to participate in their research Reaching Rural Veterans (RRV). The research group visited the veterans on the third Wednesday of the month at the EFM.
âWe have an event with this pantry once a month,â said U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Jeannette Tarqueno. âWe are researching rural ex-combatants and addressing food insecurity, housing insecurity and whether they are using their medical resources. “
Tarqueno said the research is being compiled to help rural veterans.
âWe will be holding this event once a month until November,â she said. âWe are also in contact with the many community suppliers involved in the pantry. “
âWe want to see how we can better help veterans in rural areas,â Tarqueno said.
The next scheduled visit of the research group to the ministries of sustainable freedom is on October 20.
Enduring Freedom Ministries is located in the old Shumway Elementary School, near the intersection of Illinois Route 33 and West Street in Shumway. EFM hosts a soup kitchen in its Five and Two restaurant and a pantry.
If you have any questions, call Enduring Freedom Ministries at 217-240-0059.