Home Hospice holds third annual fish cook-off benefit - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Home Hospice holds third annual fish cook-off benefit

DENISON, TX – Cooks for the teams told KTEN when they arrived at Loose Wheels Sunday morning, it was already pouring down rain. Event Coordinators say they didn’t think today was going to happen.

But the sun made its way through the dark clouds and Home Hospice Executive Director Sherry Little says this might be the most successful fundraiser yet. The cook-off included live music, raffle prizes, a silent auction and twelve teams competing in categories such as best beans, coleslaw, hushpuppies and of course fried fish.  

Little says the event turn out has improved every year.

"Our teams have grown, our sponsors have grown, the silent auction has got bigger", said Little.

But the need for money has grown too.

"We've seen a huge increase in the number of people coming to the end of their life without the benefit of insurance", said Little.

Little says hospice cares for patients regardless of whether or not they have insurance. Volunteers say supporting this program is important to the community.

"For those families that need it,” Jennings said. “I mean raising the money, if they don't have insurance, if they need psychological help. If they need support or grieve counseling, hospice is there for them."

Jennings has been on the planning committee since the event's start in 2012. Jennings is account manager with HigginboHigginbotham and Associatesmpany that was the big fish sponsor this year. She says family motivated her involvement.

"I've had two aunts that are on service with hospice,” said Jennings, “and that's really why I do it. We've kind of made it a family, a Jennings family charity."

"She convinced me it was a worthwhile thing to do,” said Jeff Jennings, Janet’s brother, “and I jumped on board. I didn't realize it was going to be as rewarding as it has been.”

Jeff says supporting the local hospice program relates to many.

"It touches everybody's life, at some point in time all of us are going to have to have a need for it,” said Jeff, a regional manager at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts– a sponsoring company for the benefit.

But Sunday's participants say this is just the beginning.

"Everybody can do a little more,” said Roger Knowles, a volunteer cook. “This is what year three, so we're just getting rolling on this thing."

Janet says the first year they held the cook-off, they raised $8,000 and the following year that number increased to $18,000. Coordinators are still figuring out what the total for 2014 will be, but they say their hopes are high for another increase this year.