The Orange chapter of Altrusa International, Inc. prepared approximately 200 orders of chili on Thursday as part of its annual fundraiser for scholarships, which will be awarded to local high school students in 2016. Pictured, clockwise, from left, are: Joey Williamson, Gale Beckett, Eva Magnuson, Pat Caillavet, Patti Nimitz, Neil Nimitz, Geraldine Chesser, Patrick Breckel and Debbie Hughes. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

A local organization known for dedication to the community continued with an annual tradition on Thursday to assist local high school students.

The Orange chapter of Altrusa International, Inc. held its annual chili supper fundraiser this past Thursday inside the Gillespie Building of First Presbyterian Church in Orange. The event is held each year to raise funds for scholarships, which are given to two local students, one from West Orange-Stark High School and one from Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School.

“This is our largest fundraiser each year,” said Gale Beckett, president of the local chapter of Altrusa. “It’s primarily for scholarships, so students can attend any of the Lamar campuses, but it hasn’t always been just for scholarships.”

In 2008, following the devastation of the storm surge unleashed by Hurricane Ike, the organization opted to use the proceeds from its chili fundraiser to assist four families in Bridge City on the road to recovery.

Each year the Altrusa organization prepares approximately 40 gallons of chili and several pounds of rice for its limit of 200 orders, which are made through pre-paid ticket purchases each year for the fundraiser.

“The public has always been very receptive of our event,” Beckett added. “We deliver most of the orders to local businesses, but a lot of people come here to pick them up at a specified time. We enjoy doing this for the community and for the students we try to assist each year.”

Altrusa International was founded in Nashville, Tennessee in 1917, according to its official website. Altrusa members are united through their dedication to develop and apply leadership abilities, to capitalize on its worldwide member network and to find partners to help improve its communities.

Along with its annual chili dinner fundraiser, the local chapter of Altrusa International also presents a “Woman of the Year” award each spring.